Well, I’m not too surprised to be typing this but Braden Holtby and his Washington Capitals have done it again.  They beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 in a tight checking and physical game tonight at the TD Garden.  The effort was there from our beloved Bruins but the results were not to be desired.  Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a beauty of a high glove snipe and added an assist for the Capitals.  And our hero Patrice Bergeron matched him with a goal and an assist as well.

Here are BostonPucks.com 3 Thoughts of the game:

1) Braden Holtby Continues To Beat Boston

This guy is really, really good.  The media, the experts, the eye test, they’re all right.  A+ all around for Braden Holtby.  He should, and will, win the Vezina Trophy this year as the NHL’s best goaltender.  He’s not overly flashy or acrobatic, he’s a positional rock under the tutelage of Caps goalie guru Mitch Korn.

Tonight he stopped 25 of 27 shots under some good pressure and traffic created by the Bruins.  In his previous 4 games against Boston, Holtby had posted 3 shutouts and only allowed one goal in the fourth meeting.  But Bruins fans shouldn’t feel this is just a “Boston can’t beat Holtby” thing.  He beats everybody.  Right now he’s rocking a 25-4-2 record this season with a .932 save percentage and 1.93 goals against average.  Give him the hardware now.

2) Lack Of Scoring Depth For Bruins Shows In Games Like This

You can’t knock the effort the Bruins put forth tonight.  After coming off arguably the most embarrassing and ugly lost in years Saturday at the Winter Classic it was clear the team had put that catastrophe behind them.  But without Brad Marchand, David Krejci, a healthy finisher like David Pastrnak, and even the often ridiculed Chris Kelly manning the 4th line, the Bruins didn’t have enough.

This current lineup isn’t going to be burying many pucks against the elite Capitals without their own elite.  The Capitals tonight had eleven, yes eleven, 1st round draft picks in their lineup for this game.  Normally they have thirteen.  That being said, the Bruins came to play and really put a lot of heat on Washington tonight.  But without your finishers there to do what they do it ends up being just that; hard fought but with a tough result.

3) If You Don’t Know How To, Learn To Pronounce Evgeny Kuznetsov Sooner Than Later

This kid is on his way to being one of the best players in the game.  He basically already is, but the sky is truly the limit.  Right now the 23-year-old is sitting on 37 points (13 goals) in 39 games this year and he has some silky mitts.  Just fantastic hands.  And if you missed his top shelf goal on the power play hit up the YouTube machine now because it was a beauty.

Kuznetsov comes from the famous Hall-Seguin 2010 NHL draft class.  He was taken by Washington amongst first rounders Vladimir Tarasenko, Nick Bjugstad, Cam Fowler, Jeff Skinner, and Ryan Johansen.  Evgeny Kuznetsov is right there and now passing some of them.  Now is the time where his career starts to take off for him as he hits those 23-27 age years.  He’s going to be a flashy near point-a-game player for some time.

****Extras****

  • Adam McQuaid left the game after he was checked into the boards from the behind by Caps forward Zach Sill.  Shockingly, no penalty was called on the play but it was clearly a boarding minor at minimum.  McQuaid did not return to the game and we’re not sure what the injury is yet, but on replay it looked like it easily could have come from his head hitting the glass.
  • Dennis Seidenberg got burned on a couple goals tonight.  The power play goal by Kuznetsov, although a fantastic shot, was basically given to the Caps by Seidenberg collapsing too deep in the slot then giving away the shooting lane.  The game-winning goal by Marcus Johansson was a battle lost by Seidenberg.  Instead of lifting Johansson’s stick in front of the net Seidenberg actually came down on top of it, allowing Johansson to easily tap in the eventual winner.
  • Just another day at the office for Patrice Bergeron.  He had 1 power play goal, 1 assist, for a +1 rating and was 70% in the faceoff department tonight.  Ho-hum, just one of the best in the world.

Next up?  The New Jersey Devils.  Friday night, 7pm puck drop.