Tuukka Rask Boston Bruins

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Bruins answer Cassidy’s call to earn rare W vs. Caps

Matt Kalman
February 03, 2019 - 4:23 pm

Although publicly criticizing players on a regular basis is probably not a recipe for consistent success for any NHL coach, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy now knows that when he plays that card his players will respond.

The Bruins answered Cassidy’s call for a better defensive performance with a 1-0 win at Washington on Sunday, ending a 14-game losing streak against the Capitals, snapping a three-game losing streak overall, and earning Tuukka Rask career win No. 253 – making him the Bruins’ all-time leader in wins.

Cassidy targeted captain Zdeno Chara and Boston’s defense corps as a whole after a 3-2 overtime loss to Philadelphia on Thursday, and Chara knew he had to be better. The breakdowns were few and far between for the Bruins, who outshot the Caps 38-24. The Chara-Charlie McAvoy defense pair was particularly stout against the Caps’ top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, limiting Ovechkin to just three shots on goal while being on the ice for him at 5-on-5 for but five minutes of his 19:43.

Chara played 9:26 in the third period. He and McAvoy were on the ice for 5:30 of the final 11:35 of the game, including close to two minutes of 6-on-5 for Washington. McAvoy blocked an Ovechkin one-timer with 15 seconds remaining. Chara had the final clear of the puck just before the horn sounded.

Cassidy was also pleading for secondary offense after Thursday’s loss. He got it when David Krejci scored on a one-timer during a shift with Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak after a Boston penalty kill. Pastrnak fed Torey Krug, who set up Krejci’s 11th goal of the season.

There was no reason for Cassidy to call anyone out this time around.

Record for Rask

The ghost of Tiny Thompson was finally conquered by Rask, who made 24 saves for his record-breaking win in his third try. It was Rask’s second shutout of the season and, oddly enough, his only other win in 19 games against Washington was a 3-0 shutout on March 6, 2014. Rask is now 2-11-5 against the Capitals. …

The win was the Bruins’ first against Washington since March 29, 2014. The longest winning streak in the NHL against a specific opponents now belongs to the Bruins, 14 games against Arizona.

Related: Kalman: Bruins should say P U to current price for Panarin

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