Capitals stay hot, continue mastery of Bruins
BOSTON — Having spent three years at Boston University, Alex Chiasson says he always enjoys a return to TD Garden.
On Thursday night, the Washington Capitals winger enjoyed it even more.
“Obviously it’s special for me here, Boston,” Chiasson said after scoring his fifth and sixth goals of the season in the third period as the Capitals posted their 11th straight victory over Boston with a 5-3 win over the Bruins.
“Every time I come here ... usually I have dinner with some friends and a college roommate. I spent three years here at BU — three of my best years for sure in my life so far. The whole thing was great.”
And these two goals came at an important time for Chiasson. With fellow right winger T.J. Oshie out for the last five games and about to come back, this was a good time for Chiasson to have a two-goal game.
“He can count,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said when asked about Chiasson’s big game.
The teams play the final game of their season series in Washington on Dec. 28 — one more chance for the Bruins to end this streak.
“At some point you definitely want to get it over with and win those games,” said Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, who scored two goals in the loss. “It’s not something necessarily that I was thinking before the game, being honest with you, and it was a back-to-back game.
“We knew it was a challenge and we had to be good and be smart. A few breakdowns and a little lack of discipline made us pay is the bottom line.”
The Bruins haven’t beaten the Caps since March 29, 2014.
Strangely, Boston’s next game is Saturday at home against the New York Rangers, who have beaten the Bruins six straight times.
Washington earned its ninth victory in its last 11 games Thursday night.
Braden Holtby, whose first NHL win was over Boston, 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 a .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 — 2-0-0 against Boston.
Rookie Jakub Vrana, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin (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.
“It’s nice to get a win on the road obviously,” said Holtby. “I don’t think we’re playing as well as we wanted to on the road, but it’s good for the confidence. You know it’s a little bit of improvement from Long Island (in a loss Monday night).”
Bergeron scored a power-play goal 4:22 into the second period to tie the game 1-1 for the Bruins (15-10-4), who had a 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, Boston’s 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.
The goal was the 16th even-strength score for Ovechkin, matching his total from last season — in just 33 games.
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.
“We shot a lot of pucks and some things didn’t go our way,” Khudobin said. “When the black cat crosses the road, it’s just a black cat across the road.”
Asked what the black cat meant, he said, “That mean(t) we shot it how many times, 35? Hit how many crossbars (three)? They played pretty well offensively, even that third goal, kind of puck on the backdoor, I stopped it and it just crawled over my pad. That’s what it means.”
Brad Marchand set up Bergeron’s first goal, notching his 400th NHL point and extending his points streak to seven 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: Boston LW Matt Beleskey, who hasn’t scored a point in 24 straight games dating back to last season, was placed on waivers for the purpose of sending him to Providence. He has two years, at $3.8 million per, left on his contract. ... 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.