The Eastern Conference is all set. With two games left to play, the Boston Bruins are officially one of the eight teams that will play postseason hockey for the Eastern Conference title.
Their opponent on Saturday night will also be in the playoffs come next week. The B's traveled to Washington to take on the Capitals to close out their season series with the Southeast Division. This was also their final road game of the regular season.
We all know that the Capitals knocked off the Bruins in the first round of last year's Stanley Cup playoffs. Even though we may not see that particular matchup since the Caps won the division this year, the focus was on Saturday night's game. Additionally, this Washington team seems to be catching fire at the right time yet again due to some key additions at the trade deadline.
The B's were coming off a good win on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They hoped to use that momentum and clinch the Northeast Division against Washington. If they picked up the win, they would also take the season series. Judging from their last meeting with Washington, this game was fixing to be tough and physical to say the least.
Not so much actually.
Tuukka Rask was back between the pipes for Boston. Nathan Horton remained out of the lineup due to a wrist injury. He was replaced by Kaspars Daugavins. Matt Bartkowski was sent down to Providence prior to the game, clearing up any controversy as to who will actually make the playoff roster. Also, Jaromir Jagr did not travel with the team since he is battling the flu. Hopefully, he will be ready to go for the season finale.
Through the first two periods, the Bruins had control of the puck and the game. They jumped out to a two-goal lead. Milan Lucic and Andrew Ference recorded the tallies for the Bruins. The flow of the game fell right into the B's hands up until that point. With that being said, both teams tested the opposing goaltender on several occasions.
In the third period, the Capitals got some decent chances. Mike Green made the most of those chances when he scored two power play goals to tie the game. The Bruins once again could not hold it together in the third period. Although they made it interesting towards the end of the game, the score remained tied and we headed for overtime.
In the extra period, Zdeno Chara got whistled for a costly penalty, which led to a Capitals power play. From there, Eric Fehr popped in a rebound shot to end the game and give Washington the 3-2 victory. The theme of this game was the number of penalties taken by the Bruins and the awful play of the penalty killing unit.
The Bruins will close out the regular season on Sunday night when they take on the Ottawa Senators.
Gold Star: Milan Lucic (1 goal, 1 assist, plus-2 rating)...This was the Milan Lucic of old that we have come to know and love. Hopefully, he can keep this up for the playoffs.
Black Star(s): Penalty Killing Unit...Three goals were scored on one of the best short-handed teams in the league. They picked a game where they needed points to look terrible.