If the Boston Bruins miss the playoffs – a far stronger possibility after tonight – they may pin it to their troubles against one team (the Washington Capitals) and one goalie (Braden Holtby).
Holtby and the Capitals blanked them 3-0 on Wednesday night, sweeping the season series and greatly improving the playoff odds for the Ottawa Senators and the Bruins’ other East bubble opponents.
A game like this can make it easy for people to forget that Boston came into this contest on a five-game winning streak. That’s especially true since the Bruins went out with a whimper, only firing five shots on goal in the third period.
It seemed like Marcus Johansson’s 3-0 goal really deflated Boston, as the B’s had some nice chances before that dagger:
One wouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins thought “there’s no way we can get three or more goals against Holtby,” even if it was subconscious. The 25-year-old goalie stopped all 88 shots he faced from Boston in 2014-15 as Washington beat Boston by a combined score of 9-0.
Holtby’s dominance of Boston is rare, to say the least:
Here’s a simplified version of what the East postseason race looks like right now:
This Claude Julien GIF might just capture how the entire Bruins team (and fan base) feels at the moment:
The Bruins turn around to face the Panthers in Florida tomorrow before closing out their season with a road game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Those games are that much bigger after this humbling loss … but at least they won’t face Holtby.