Capitals end losing streak in 4-3 shootout win over Bruins


As hot as the Boston Bruins had been as of late, history just wasn’t on their side on Thursday night against the Washington Capitals.

The Caps earned a 4-3 shootout decision over the Bruins, ending a three-game losing streak while simultaneously putting an end to the Bruins’ five-game heater. And on top of that, the Caps improve their impressive run against the Bruins dating back to 2014 with 12 straight wins.

The record looked like it would fall early on in Thursday’s game as the Bruins jumped out of the gate with a vegenance, scoring twice in 49 seconds inside the first three minutes of the game.

David Backes took advantage of a nice centering feed from Riley Nash to notch his sixth goal in his 12th game this season. Noel Acciari doubled the advantage 49 seconds later, punching in his own rebound after a wrap-around attempt on Braden Holtby.

Bruins forward Danton Heinen continued his fine form as of late, registering his seventh assist and 10th point in his past seven games on Backes’ marker.

The Caps ended a long goal drought just after the mid-way point of the second period as Lars Eller let a wrister go from the high slot, beating Khudobin high over his glove hand.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 24th of the season to move into a tie for the NHL goal-scoring lead and tied the game 2-2 1:36 after Eller’s goal.

But the Bruins would regain the advantage in the third period, with Backes’ second of the night.

Backes has five goals in his past six games now as he continues his solid return from colon surgery at the end of November.

Washington, not to be outdone, came from behind yet again, however, as Brett Connolly‘s backhand went off the skate of Kevan Miller and behind Khudobin for the tying goal at the 11:22 mark of the third.

Nothing separated the two teams after overtime, and Ovechkin put the final mark on the game as the only scorer in the shootout to get the Caps back on track in the win column.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

WATCH LIVE: Bruins vs. Capitals on NBCSN

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Boston Bruins


Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak

Danton HeinenRiley NashDavid Backes

Jake DeBruskRyan SpoonerAnders Bjork

Tim SchallerSean KuralyNoel Acciari


Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy

Torey KrugBrandon Carlo

Matt GrzelcykKevan Miller

Starting goalie: Anton Khudobin

NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Bruins vs. Capitals; Golden Knights vs. Kings

Washington Capitals


Alex OvechkinNicklas BackstromTom Wilson

Jakub VranaEvgeny KuznetsovT.J. Oshie

Andre BurakovskyLars EllerBrett Connolly

Devante Smith-PellyJay BeagleAlex Chiasson


Dmitry OrlovMatt Niskanen

Brooks OrpikJohn Carlson

Christian DjoosMadison Bowey

Starting goalie: Braden Holtby

NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Bruins vs. Capitals; Golden Knights vs. Kings

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with a doubleheader on Thursday night. In the early game, the Washington Capitals host the Boston Bruins at 7:30 p.m. ET and then the Vegas Golden Knights visit the Los Angeles Kings at 10 p.m. ET. To watch the BOS-WSH game online, click here. For VGK-LA, click here.

Only the New Jersey Devils and Vegas Golden Knights have a winning streak as long as the Boston Bruins at the moment. Wins in five straight and in 14 out of their last 18 have helped Bruce Cassidy’s charges surge up the Atlantic Division standings and find themselves tied for second with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The key to that streak? Not getting complacent.

“We just need to keep playing the way we have. I think that’s been resulting as wins. You don’t want to get complacent and just satisfied with [the way] things have been lately. I think you want to keep pushing yourself, and that’s what great teams do,” said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask via NBC Boston. “They always, they don’t take anything for granted. They always push each other, and I think that something, you know, to put some wins together we have to, you know, show that, show everybody that we’re capable of keeping that up for the rest of the season.”

The nightcap will feature a terrific Pacific Division battle between the Golden Knights and Kings. Vegas continued their historic run with a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night, extending their points streak to 10 games.

”Our biggest trait is we’re resilient and don’t give up,” said Golden Knights netminder Malcolm Subban, who made 27 saves. “When a team’s working really hard like we do, it’s tough to generate chances. We’ve been really consistent.”


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Bruins showing real fight during hot streak


During an 82-game season, rattling off five straight wins only means so much.

Luckily, for the Boston Bruins, their winning ways go deeper than this current run, which continued with a 5-1 win against the Ottawa Senators, not allowing the holiday break to ruin focus. They’ve been scoring at a high rate during much of this run, too, even as Tuukka Rask heats up.

Dec. 18: 7-2 win home against the Blue Jackets.
Dec. 19: 3-0 win on the road versus Sabres.
Dec. 21: 2-1 shootout victory at home against Jets.
Dec. 23: 3-1 win at home against Red Wings.
Tonight: 5-1 home win vs. Senators.

It has to be refreshing for the Bruins to enjoy strong games from guys not named Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, or David Pastrnak. Those three went without a point against the Senators, but supporting cast members carried the torch, with Riley Nash‘s two-goal, one-assist performance leading the way.

David Backes might be the most unexpected part of this most recent run.

Not long after frightening surgery that forced him to lose significant weight, Backes is on a roll. The 33-year-old has three goals and four assists for seven points during this five-game winning streak.

(Beyond that, the Bruins aren’t just about finesse, as you can see from the video above this post’s headline.)

Again, this isn’t just about a five-game winning streak, though.

The Bruins have been on a tear since a 4-2 loss to the Ducks on Nov. 15, which dropped the B’s to 6-7-4. They’ve gone 14-3-1 since then, leaving them at 20-10-5. More and more, it seems like they’ll lock down one round of home-ice advantage, as they now match the Maple Leafs with 45 standings points despite playing in two fewer games than Toronto.

About the only thing the Bruins can complain about is that the Tampa Bay Lightning are in their division. As hot as Boston is, they remain nine points behind the blistering Bolts for the lead in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

Considering how much the Bruins struggled to merely make the playoffs in 2016-17, such concerns feel like small quibbles. Either way, this team looks like it could be a factor once again in the East.

Or at least they won’t go down without a fight.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Tuukka Rask and the Bruins are on a roll


There has been no hotter team in the NHL over the past month than the Boston Bruins.

Following their 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon the Bruins are now on a 13-3-1 run over their past 17 games dating back to Nov. 16, the best record in the NHL over that stretch.

That run has helped them climb to the second spot (pending the result of the Toronto Maple Leafs game on Saturday night) in the Atlantic Division along with the seventh best points percentage in the NHL.

Their big-three trio of forwards up front — Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak — have been a key cog in that success. All of them have been putting up massive numbers with all three contributing all of the offense on Saturday.

Another key vital part of this hot streak: Starting goaltender Tuukka Rask.

Rask stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced in Saturday’s game and continued what has been by far his best stretch of hockey this season.

Including Saturday’s game Rask is now 8-0-1 in his past nine decisions with a save percentage (via NHL PR).

The key for the Bruins is whether or not this is a sign of Rask returning to his elite level, or if it’s just a hot streak in the middle of the season. A few years ago Rask was one of the top goaltenders in the NHL but had seen his overall production drop to more of a league average level. Still solid enough. Still good enough to win with. But not quite at the same standard he had set for himself earlier in his career. Part of that drop in production could be attributed to a weaker defense in front of him in recent years, and that aspect of the team has improved decidedly over the past two years with the development of youngsters Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy.

With that improvement on defense, the elite trio of forwards dominating the way they are and a returning-to-form Rask the Bruins could become a pretty fierce contender in the Eastern Conference very quickly.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.