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The Boston Bruins Crush the Washington Capitals in a Very Physical Game

The Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals faced off on March 5, 2021. The result was a decisive 5-1 victory for Boston. Here is a look at some of the key points of the game.

Physicality

This game was expected to be full of big hits and physical play. When the Bruins and Capitals faced off on Wednesday, March 3 they combined for 54 hits and appeared to be playing with near playoff intensity.

The Friday night game was considerably more physically involved than the Wednesday night game. If a player came near the boards, they could expect contact. If the whistle was blown near the net, fans could expect a small skirmish.

While Boston and Washington have not been rivals in the past they certainly appear to be rivals now. This new rivalry definitely fueled the heated play on the ice. However, the physical play was motivated by another source as well: a first-period hit by Capitals forward Tom Wilson on Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo.

Image Courtesy of AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Wilson’s hit came high and hard on Carlo, pushing the defenseman’s head into the glass. Carlo came off the ice and went immediately to the hospital.  Wilson has since received a seven-game suspension.

Following the Wilson hit, anger between the sides increased. Boston players Jarred Tinordi and Trent Frederic sparred with Wilson in retaliation for his hit on Carlo. While scoring continued, it appeared almost as if the teams had forgotten the objective of the game and were focused more on delivering big hits.

Sloppy Play For Washington

Washington was certainly not playing their best. They entered the game on a four-game win streak, which included a 2-1 shootout victory against the Bruins on March 3. The 5-1 loss came as a surprise but based on the way Washington played, it was not undeserved.

Boston limited the Capitals’ offense for the majority of the game. Washington’s lone goal came with just 6:24 to go in the third period.  The Bruins also excelled on the penalty kill, not allowing Washington to score on the various powerplays they received.

The Capitals’ loss was also a result of their own play. While they were able to muster up 32 shots on goal, they did not appear strong offensively. Players missed passes and delivered unnecessary checks. Washington players could be seen falling over and skating into each other, one such instance resulting in a goal for Boston.

If the Capitals want to get back to winning, they will need to focus. Physicality is an important part of the game, but there is no use in hitting someone just to hit them. Washington needs to be smarter with their checking and stay disciplined to avoid future games that resemble boxing more than hockey.

A Few Bright Moments

For Boston Bruins fans, there are a few good things to come from this game. The Bruins first line, who the team usually relies on for goals, received help in the goal-scoring category. Forwards Trent Frederic and Nick Ritchie, who are not on the high-scoring first line, each contributed a goal for the Bruins.

Boston forward Brad Marchand also had a successful night. He scored two goals against Washington and assisted a goal scored by Patrice Bergeron.

For Capitals fans, the game was much less fruitful. However, Washington center Nicklas Backstrom reached the impressive 700 assists mark with his assist on the goal scored by Jakub Vrana in the third period.

Backstrom becomes the fifth Swedish player and 54th player of all time to reach this milestone. He ranks third in assists among active players, with Toronto forward Joe Thornton and Pittsburgh forward Sidney Crosby having more assists. Hopefully, Backstrom, who leads the Capitals in points this season, will continue to be productive as Washington hopes to bounce back quickly from their defeat.

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