The Washington Capitals will look to win back-to-back games when they visit the Boston Bruins on Sunday night.
The Capitals dropped a 4-2 decision to the Bruins on Thursday before posting a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres the following night.
The good news for Washington is that captain Alex Ovechkin is heating up. The three-time Hart Trophy recipient scored a goal in each of the past two games and now needs just five more to pass Marcel Dionne for fifth place in NHL history.
Ovechkin has 727 career goals. When he scored Friday, it marked his 457th even-strength goal for his career and enabled him to pass Brett Hull into sixth place all-time in that category.
But while the Capitals don’t ride only Ovechkin for offense, they do certainly play better when he does. Washington becomes more dangerous when the team can find help from other places, and that’s what happened Friday.
Defensemen Brenden Dillon and Justin Schultz both scored for Washington, along with Jakub Vrana and Ovechkin. The struggling Vrana had not scored a goal prior to March 9.
“It’s hard to generate offense,” Dillon said. “Teams are so good defensively with their sticks and blocking shots, whatever it is, so when we’re able to add a fourth man or a fifth man — whether that’s off the rush or in (offensive) zone play — we feel our guys can skate and we can get up in the play and add (to the attack).”
The Capitals also have been falling behind early lately, another problem they’d like to remedy.
The Bruins claimed a 3-0 lead against Washington early in the second period Thursday.
Boston is coming off a 3-2 loss to the Flyers on Saturday afternoon. Captain Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk each scored a goal for the Bruins.
Rookie Jeremy Swayman finished with 20 saves in his third NHL game. He won the first two contests and, along with Dan Vladar, helped Boston to a 4-2-1 run while Tuukka Rask (upper body) and Jaroslav Halak (COVID protocol) have been sidelined.
Rusk could be in line to return for Sunday’s game. If the former Vezina Trophy recipient still isn’t ready, however, coach Bruce Cassidy likely would turn to Vladar.
The coach was pleased with Swayman’s work in his third straight game — the only games he’s played in the NHL.
“The goals they scored, can’t fault Swayman,” Cassidy said. “His style is to be aggressive. He’s challenging the shooter, so no issues there. … I don’t mind him being aggressive; he’ll learn what he can get away with and what he can’t.”
Boston’s injury problems on defense continue to pile up. Matt Grzelcyk left after the first period due to an upper-body injury, while both Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo are out with the same problem.
–Field Level Media