Jakub Vrana scored in the first round of the shootout, and Vitek Vanecek held on in net, leading the Washington Capitals past the host Boston Bruins 2-1 Wednesday night.
Vrana skated out wide and beat Tuukka Rask on a deke before Vanecek (18 saves) turned away all three attempts he faced as the Capitals won their fourth straight. Lars Eller scored in regulation. Rask had 27 saves, including standout stops on Dmitry Orlov and Nicklas Backstrom in overtime, for the Bruins, who have dropped three of four (1-2-1). David Pastrnak scored.
Pastrnak snapped a scoreless tie at 1:19 of the third period on a play created by Brad Marchand’s steal against John Carlson. Marchand found Pastrnak streaking up ice, and the winger went five-hole for his 10th goal of the season.
The Capitals answered nearly five minutes later off a rebound created by Nick Jensen’s initial shot. Rask couldn’t find the puck before Eller stuffed it in at 6:14.
The game was short on offense – but not action – through the first two periods. Washington had an apparent TJ Oshie goal with about nine minutes remaining in the first overturned by a Boston challenge for offsides on the puck entering the zone in midair.
Meanwhile, the Bruins went without a shot on net until 4:33 was left in the period. Pastrnak had an opportunity on a breakaway early, but the winger rang the right post. The Capitals outshot the Bruins 7-2 in the first. The two teams combined for 25 hits.
The tables turned in the second, as it wasn’t until nearly eight minutes remained that Washington registered a shot on net. By period’s end, the shot total was 11-9 in favour of the Capitals, and the combined hit total increased to 46.
Boston played without Charlie Coyle (Covid-19 protocol), while David Krejci (four games missed) and Matt Grzelcyk (seven) returned from lower-body injuries. Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body) returned from two games missed for Washington.
Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara received a video tribute during the first period in his first game back in Boston after 14 years with the Bruins. The video featured praise from fans, who aren’t allowed in attendance at TD Garden until the end of the month.
Grubauer, Avalanche shut out Sharks
Mikko Rantanen had two goals and two assists, Gabriel Landeskog added a goal and three assists and Philipp Grubauer made 26 saves as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the host San Jose Sharks 4-0 Wednesday night to earn a split of their two-game series.
The game took an ugly turn with Colorado leading 2-0 in the third period when San Jose’s Joachim Blichfeld, playing in his first game of the season and the fourth of his NHL career, was assessed a match penalty for a hit to the head of Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon with 11:52 remaining.
Blichfeld’s shoulder nailed MacKinnon in the chin as the Avalanche forward was trying to dig the puck out of his skates in front of the benches.
MacKinnon was helped off the ice by one of the team’s trainers, went straight to the locker room and didn’t return.
A video review confirmed the major penalty, and Landeskog scored on a rebound 15 seconds into the five-minute major to help clinch the victory.
Rantanen capped the scoring at 14:34, corralling the puck behind the net following a missed shot and tallying on a wraparound. Samuel Girard also scored for Colorado, which rebounded from a 6-2 loss to the Sharks on Monday. San Jose goalie Martin Jones stopped 34 of 38 shots.
Rantanen broke a scoreless tie at 14:24 of the second period with a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. The Sharks’ Evander Kane nearly tied the score on the power play late in the second period, but his shot from close range went off the right post.
Girard made it 2-0 at 5:29 of the third on a blast from the blue line that went just inside the right post.
The goal was set up when Landeskog won a faceoff and Rantanen shoveled the puck back to Girard for a one-timer.
Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, the reigning Calder Trophy winner as the NHL’s rookie of the year, missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury.
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