The Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals took to the ice Tuesday night at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. This was the final game for each team before entering the All-Star break. Washington escaped with a 5-3 victory over Boston in a tight, high intensity matchup.
Both teams were without key players. Alexander Ovechkin was serving the first game of a three-game suspension for the Capitals. Ovechkin was suspended after a charging incident in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night where he launched himself into Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek. The Boston Bruins were without forward Nathan Horton who suffered a concussion from a hit by Philadelphia Flyers forward Tom Sestito on Sunday. This is Horton’s second concussion in the last seven months. His last concussion came on a hit by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in game three of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. Boston was also without defenseman Andrew Ference. Ference is in the middle of serving a three-game suspension from an incident that occurred on Saturday where he illegally checked New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
Boston finally opened up the scoring late in the first period on Rich Peverley’s eighth goal of the season at the 17:46 mark. Washington played an extremely physical first period as the team posted 19 hits, as opposed to the Bruins nine.
The Capitals posted two quick goals in the first 2:55 of the second period, on goals by Cody Eakin and Mathieu Perreault which came only 41 seconds apart. Boston was able to answer shortly after the midway point of the period on an all-around great defensive and offensive effort by All-Star Tyler Seguin. Seguin applied back pressure behind the net on the Capitals defender forcing a turnover. Steven Kampfer dished the puck to Seguin who danced around the Washington defender, and lifted a beautiful backhand shot over the right shoulder of Thomas Vokoun. Perreault quickly regained the lead for the Capitals on his second goal of the night, just over two minutes later. However, Perreault committed a hooking penalty which led to a Boston power play. The Bruins capitalized on the man advantage with a power play goal by Brad Marchand. Through two periods, Boston outshot Washington 24-18 but both teams entered the locker room with three goals apiece.
Perreault notched a hat-trick goal assisted by Roman Hamrlik and Marcus Johansson at the 7:18 mark of the third period. Former Bruin, Dennis Wideman went on to seal the victory for the Capitals with a 185 foot empty net goal off of a faceoff victory by Jeff Halpern.
Boston enters the All-Star break second in the Eastern Conference with a 31-14-2 record. Washington improves their record to 26-19-3 with Tuesday’s win over the Bruins. Both teams return to action on January 31st as Boston takes on the Ottawa Senators and Washington battles it out with the Tampa Bay Lightning.