The game may have started off looking like an easy victory for the Washington Capitals, but eventually, things turned ugly. After the Boston Bruins scored three unanswered goals to tie and take over the game, Washignton redeemed itself in the overtime period, taking a 4-3 win.
With that victory, the Capitals are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for fourth in the Metropolitan Division (33 points), and they extended their winning streak against Boston to seven games. However, the result doesn’t takeaway from how rough the going got for the Capitals.
Washington got things going from the get-go, and also got an outstanding performance from players that needed to step up. Justin Williams scored on a rather skillful tip-in after a solid drive to the net. Not only did he effectively get his body in front, but he finished a great play started by linemates Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, and the entire unit displayed great zone entry.
About seven minutes later, Williams struck again and showed that he still has a lot of gas left in the tank. After Kuznetsov lost control of the puck while driving to the net, the 35-year-old winger ripped home the loose biscuit in front.
Washington would head into the second period with a 2-0 lead and led 13-11 in shots.
About six minutes into the second, Jay Beagle and Daniel Winnik broke out on a two-on-one rush. Winnik fired the puck past Tuukka Rask on a great cross-ice pass from Beagle to give Washington a three-goal lead.
Everything was going fine, but suddenly, things started to fall apart. The Capitals lost their edge and momentum. They couldn’t muster up any offense and spent too much time in their own zone. A sloppy ending to the second period led to two Bruins goals; Dominic Moore and David Pastrnak scored for Boston with under four minutes remaining in the frame.
The Capitals were rather deflated heading to the locker room, as their impressive three-goal lead was cut before their eyes. By the same token, they were outplayed and outshot 11-2, and this would take a toll on Washington’s energy going forward.
Period three left little to be desired from Washington. About six minutes in, Moore and Beagle were called for dual roughing minors. However, Tom Wilson’s interference call led Boston to a big power-play opportunity at a critical time in the third.
Though the Capitals managed to stand tall through the two-minute minor, Colin Miller shot a one-time dart past an unsuspecting Holtby to tie the game at three with around 11 minutes left. Washington’s three-goal lead was a thing of history.
All at the same time, Washington let Boston go on a 17-0 shot run and went 26 minutes and 28 seconds without registering a shot on goal. Thankfully, Braden Holtby was phenomenal and stood on his head. Though he surrendered three goals, he finished with 31 saves on the night.
Winnik's goal 5:51 into second period is Capitals' last shot on goal. We're now 6:21 into third. (That's 20:30 without a shot)
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) December 8, 2016
Finally, the Capitals managed to end the drought but only registered four shots on net. Eventually, the game that should have gotten away from Boston was headed to overtime.
The Capitals were much stronger to start off the extra frame, and both teams traded quality chances. Finally, Nate Schmidt got the puck out of the defensive zone, giving it to Marcus Johansson, who spun it around and passed it to Nicklas Backstrom.
On a give-and-go with Schmidt, Backstrom finessed the puck, and eventually ripped it past Rask for the game-winning goal.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 8, 2016
WSH- Justin Williams (3) assisted by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin
WSH- Justin Williams (4) assisted by Evgeny Kuznetsov
WSH- Daniel Winnik (4) assisted by Jay Beagle
BOS- Dominic Moore (7) assisted by Anton Blidh
BOS- David Pastrnak (16) unassisted
BOS- Colin Miller (2) assisted by Austin Czarnik and Brad Marchand
WSH- Nicklas Backstrom (8) assisted by Nate Schmidt and Marcus Johansson
THW THREE STARS
First: Justin Williams (two goals)
Second: Nicklas Backstrom (overtime winner)
Third: Evgeny Kuznetsov (two assists)
Sammi Silber covers the Capitals beat for The Hockey Writers and is an NHL contributor with Sporting News. She has also contributed to USA TODAY College, Huffington Post, FanSided and the Nation Network. Silber has written four books and recently worked on graphics for the film, The California Golden Seals Movie.