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Caps continue mastery of B's

The Sports Xchange

December 15. 2017 12:12AM
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin reacts after a goal by center Nicklas Backstrom during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

BOSTON — The Washington Capitals continued their dominance of the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

The Capitals, who haven’t lost to Boston since March 29, 2014, beat the Bruins for the 11th straight time with a 5-3 victory.

It was Washington’s ninth win in its last 11 games.

Alex Chiasson scored two third-period goals, the second short-handed, and Braden Holtby stopped 34 shots to raise his career record against the Bruins to 13-2-0 for the Capitals.

Holtby came in with a 1.81 goals-against average and .944 save percentage against Boston. The Bruins have scored 14 even-strength goals in 15 lifetime games against Holtby, who is 18-7-0 overall this season and 2-0-0 against Boston.

Rookie Jakub Vrana, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Overchkin (empty net) also scored for Washington (20-12-1). Ovechkin, scoring his NHL-high 22nd goal, also had an assist and has 44 points in 44 career games against Boston. Matt Niskanen had two assists for the Caps.

Patrice Bergeron scored a power-play goal 4:22 into the second period to tie the game for the Bruins (15-10-4), who had a three-three-game winning streak snapped and lost for only the third time in their last 11 games.

After Chiasson personally turned the game from 2-1 to 4-1, David Krejci tipped in Charlie McAvoy’s shot with 3:40 left. Bergeron scored another power-play goal, after the empty-netter, with 26.4 seconds left.

Anton Khudobin, playing the second half of his team’s back-to-back (Tuukka Rask won in Detroit on Wednesday) made 17 saves but suffered his second straight loss after a four-game winning streak.

Brad Marchand set up Bergeron’s first goal, notching his 400th NHL point and extending his points streak to seven straight games (four goals, seven assists). David Pastrnak had an assist to extend his point streak to 10 contests (five goals, seven assists).

Krejci also had an assist and Danton Heinan added two for Boston.

NOTES: Washington RW T.J. Oshie missed his fifth straight game with an upper-body injury but he’s close to a return. ... Bruins LW Ryan Spooner, who has missed the last four and 19 of the last 24 contests with a groin injury, dressed for warmups but didn’t play, while D Kevan Miller, who missed Wednesday night’s game to witness the birth of a child, was back. ... The Caps host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday before a four-game road trip, while the Bruins are home for the New York Rangers on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Beleskey waived

The Bruins finally did what most observers expected and placed Matt Beleskey on waivers.

The move was made with the intention of sending the 29-year-old forward to Providence if he clears the process.

The story was first reported by Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Beleskey signed to a five-year deal worth $3.8 million annually in the summer of 2015, has been a healthy scratch since Nov. 26 and has zero points in 14 games this year with a minus-8. With the Bruins’ young players like Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen earning their spots in the lineup, the B’s could not afford to allow Beleskey to play through his struggles.

If Beleskey is not claimed, which seems very likely considering his contract, the B’s will get $1.025 million in cap relief.

Boston Herald