Tue, 11 May 2021

Alex Ovechkin, Capitals battle resurgent Bruins

Field Level Media
18 Apr 2021, 16:19 GMT+10

An infusion of new blood has the Boston Bruins back on track.

Heading into Sunday's matinee home clash with the Washington Capitals, the Bruins are riding their first three-game winning streak in more than two months, and a collection of newcomers -- notably the trade-deadline acquisitions of Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar and Mike Reilly -- are having a big hand in the success.

Hall scored in his second consecutive game, Lazar also tallied and Reilly set up David Pastrnak's game-opening tally in Boston's 3-0 win over the New York Islanders on Friday.

"That's (general manager) Don Sweeney," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Obviously, identified areas of need ... three really good fits for our hockey club. And knowing them for a week, three good people. They wanted to get here in a hurry. They hopped in the car, wanted to get here the next day. Wanted to be a part of it. A real nice deadline day for the Bruins, and credit to Donny and his guys in the pro scouting department."

The Bruins, who have the red-hot New York Rangers nipping at their heels for fourth place in the East Division, have a 3-1-2 record this season against the division-leading Capitals -- although that regulation-time loss was their most recent meeting, an 8-1 Washington victory on April 11.

Boston's strengthened lineup, plus having No. 1 goalie Tuukka Rask back from injury, is undoubtedly good news for the Bruins. So was Pastrnak's goal, which snapped a seven-game drought.

"I think I played pretty good the last couple games, was getting chances. Obviously, the puck wouldn't go in for me, but last couple games the chances was there," Pastrnak said. "Frustrating sometimes when you don't score for many games, but especially when they were coming in before. Just gonna stick with it ... work your butt off and get ready for the next game. Try to not let the frustration get in your head."

The Capitals arrive after dropping the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3 Saturday afternoon, a game in which Alex Ovechkin scored twice to record his 730rd goal -- which has him one goal behind Marcel Dionne for fifth-most in NHL history -- and John Carlson collected four assists.

The Capitals have won four of five games and have a three-point edge on the Pittsburgh Penguins and four-point bulge on the Islanders for the division's top spot.

Like the Bruins, though, the Capitals are benefiting from their trade-deadline addition. Forward Anthony Mantha, who was acquired from the Detroit Red Wings for a high price, has scored in all three games since joining Washington.

"He's a big body out there, uses his size really well, I think, to protect pucks and hang onto pucks in the offensive zone," coach Peter Laviolette said of Mantha, who has been skating on a line with T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom. "He's got gears in regard to speed, he can really crank it up and is playing with a couple good players. It's a tough line to match up against."

Thanks in big part due to Carlson and Ovechkin, Washington, which leads the league with 158 goals, is thriving on the power play. The Capitals scored twice with the man advantage against Philadelphia, and has a 13-for-36 run going over the last 11 games.

"We all know the importance of it," said Carlson, who leads all defensemen with 42 points and has collected seven assists in the last three outings. "At the end of the day, that's what means the most and it seemed to carry us here through the last 10 or 12 games or so and we have to keep it clicking like it has been."

--Field Level Media

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