Coming into this season, the Washington Capitals had dominated their recent matchups against the Boston Bruins. Between 2015 and 2020, the Capitals posted a 16-2 against the Bruins, including a 4 year stretch of season sweeps.
2021 has been a different story for Boston. They have posted a 2-0-2 mark against Washington. The Bruins have outscored the Capitals 14 to 9 over the 4 contests.
Boston has held Alexander Ovechkin to only 2 points in the 4 matchups, including three straight games without one.
While posting a 2-0-2 mark does not sound that impressive, it is a clear sign that the Bruins are through being intimidated by the Capitals. Over the last few seasons, it was not just Washington’s offensive fire-power or Braden Holtby in net that gave them problems.
The Bruins also struggled to combat the Capitals’ physical play. Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, Brooks Orpik, and others’ aggressive styles thwarted the speed-focused Boston skaters.
Capitals no longer the intimidator
However, things appear to be different. Trent Frederick has brought a rugged style on the wing and has been bothering Ovechkin and Wilson.
For example, during Friday’s game, after Wilson hit Brandon Carlo in the head, Boston responded. Frederic and newcomer Jarred Tinodri both made Wilson answer for his hit. It was clear Washington’s forwards were not going to get away with cheap-shots against the Bruins.
Not to mention, Boston’s offense has picked up against Washington so far this season. With Holtby gone, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand have both picked up at least a point in all 4 contests against the Capitals. Marchand in particular was phenomenal on Friday’s 5-1 Bruins win.
Furthermore, Boston and Washington are set to battle four more times in April. Bruins fans would have been dreading a playoff matchup against the Capitals the past few years. As we stand today, that would be a prime, competitive, high-intensity playoff series. What could be better?
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones
Photo courtesy of the Boston Herald