Here are the Talking Points from a 2-1 loss for the Boston Bruins to the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon:
GOLD STAR: After back-stopping the Colorado Avalanche to the 2022 Stanley Cup, goalie Darcy Kuemper was a big-ticket free agent signing landing a five-year, $26.2 million contract with the Washington Capitals. Well, things haven’t exactly gone as planned in Kuemper’s first year with the Caps. Heading into Saturday’s game, Kuemper was 15-14-4 with a 2.62 GAA and a .915 save percentage. On Saturday though, Kuemper looked a lot like the Kuemper during the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs making 27 saves his 16th win of the season. He was solid throughout the game, but stood even taller than his 6-foot-5 height in the third period. he stopped Bruins winger Taylor Hall early in the final frame and then did the same to Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron on a Bruins’ powerplay mid-way through the period.
BLACK EYE: As expected the Boston Bruins were rusty and out of sync in their first game back from the break and their first since a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 1. There were too many shots passed up and the Bruins also finished the game with 21 turnovers as they continued to force plays that just weren’t there. Whether it’s the fact they had such a great first half or not, the Bruins need to stop being so cute and looking for the highlight reel play. They’ve lost four of their last five games now, and it’s time to get back to Boston Bruins hockey.
TURNING POINT: The Boston Bruins were called for three minor penalties in a span of 28 seconds just over five minutes into the first period. While all three were questionable, the two-minute slashing call on Bruins winger Brad Marchand at 5:20 of the opening frame was absolutely ludicrous. Marchand was digging at Capitals goalie Darcy Kuemper for a loose puck, and was cross-checked in the head from behind by Capitals center Evgeni Kuznetsov. Somehow, the referees decided Marchand should go to the penalty box for slashing? Slashing what? The ice? Furthermore, a cross-check to the head should be a five-minute major if the NHL is truly serious about head injuries and preventing CTE. …but, as we know, they’re not.
As if that wasn’t bad enough for the Bruins, Charlie Coyle was whistled off for hooking four seconds later, and then 24 seconds later, Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm was sent to the box for interference. Just 40 seconds later, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom put the Caps up 1-0 with a powerplay goal. Amazingly, none of the zebras got an assist on the scoresheet.
HONORABLE MENTION: Taylor Hall now has just four goals in his last 25 games and 15 lamplighters in 52 games total. So why is he here as the honorable mention player of the game? Well, because he’s doing everything but score lately and was arguably the best player on the ice for the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Hall helped set up the lone Bruins goal – a Nick Foligno tally at 16:34 of the second period – and had three shots on net. He also had three blocked shots and was a presence every time he stepped on the ice.
BY THE NUMBERS: 29 – The Bruins have 29 games remaining and could lose all 29 and still have a winning record. That’s how good their first half of this season was.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I think they had a tough night tonight.” – Bruins winger Brad Marchand on the officiating Saturday.