The kid keeps smiling and the Boston Bruins keep winning.
Here are the Talking Points from another impressive performance by Boston Bruins rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman (31 saves) who enjoyed every moment of a gutsy performance by himself and his team in front of him led by Brad Marchand (goal, assist) as the Bruins beat the Washington Capitals 4-2 for their first win streak since March 16-18.
Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Jeremy Lauzon, forward Anton Blidh also lit the lamp for the B’s, and forward Craig Smith (goal, assist) scored what proved to be the game-winner on the powerplay with 3:05 left in regulation.
Alexander Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie scored powerplay goals 19 seconds apart midway through the second on a 5-on-3 powerplay for the Capitals and Ilya Samsonov made 28 saves in the loss.
With the Philadelphia Flyers losing 3-2 to the New York Islanders in a shootout, the Bruins (21-10-6, 48 pts, .649%) now lead the Flyers (18-15-6, 42 pts, .538%) by six points for the final playoff spot in the East Division.
GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand. As much as it would absolutely fair to put that Gold Star on Swayman’s mask as he keeps smiling under it, this was just another game where the player once dubbed the second coming of Kenny Linesman (‘The Rat’) has proved to be more like a Martin St. Louis. Marchand scored his 19th goal of the season on the penalty kill at 4:09 of the second period to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead. Marchand now leads all active players with 30 shorthanded tallies in 785 games. It plays like this where the 5-foot-9, 181-pound sparkplug just sets an example and puts the team on his back in crucial situations and games. Plays like this are also simply filthy highlight-reel goals!
Just silliness from Brad Marchand on the PK.
3-0 Bruins. pic.twitter.com/RxAHRFQwej
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 9, 2021
BLACK EYE: Double-minor on Anton Blidh. First off, I hate going off on officials but sometimes, and a lot more this season, the refs do have an effect on the outcome of the game. Blidh was called for slashing and roughing at 8:39 of the second period giving the Capitals a 5-on-3. Was he guilty of slashing? Yes. Did he deserve the roughing? No. Just a basic scrum after the slash. The Capitals took advantage of this mistake by the refs and made it 3-2 Boston Bruins after two periods of play. By no means, do I think the refs were trying to even up any calls here, but it did provide a team in the Capitals, that until that point, really didn’t bring it. The Bruins were able to weather the storm though.
TURNING POINT: Craig Smith’s powerplay goal at 16:55 had to be a backbreaker for the Capitals. They were starting pressure again in the latter half of the third period, and while Swayman stood tall again, it was imperative that the Bruins take advantage of the gift the Caps gave them late in this one. They did and Smith sealed the deal with 3:05 left in regulation. Credit to Conor Ryan of Boston Sports Journal for catching on to Smith’s new celly.
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 9, 2021
HONORABLE MENTION: Jeremy Swayman. As I said above, it’s hard not to give the rookie sensation the nod for Gold Star and he could easily switch spots with Marchand here. After making 40 saves in his NHL debut and a 4-2 Bruins win over the Flyers Tuesday, the kid from UMaine and Anchorage, Alaska was clutch again, as he weathered those two second-period powerplay goals by the Capitals and every surge the Caps threw at him. He had two saves on breakaways, including this beauty on Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway.
Jeremy Swayman denies Garnet Hathaway on the breakaway. pic.twitter.com/qjz9a1Fsvd
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 8, 2021
BY THE NUMBERS: 30 – The number of career shorthanded goals by Brad Marchand. The Boston Bruins alternate captain leads all active players.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “He looks that way in the net, acts that way between periods. Acts that way before games. Listen, you don’t want to jump to anything, it’s two good hockey games on the road. No bad goals yet. All good shots that have beaten him, made real high-end saves. Simply put, I think he just worries about making the next save.” – Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy when asked about Swayman’s smiling during the game and his cool demeanor.