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Friday, March 7, 2014

Bruins Blank No-Show Capitals 3-0

Tonight might as well have been a scrimmage in practice since the Bruins didn't really have to do anything (other than show up) to beat the Capitals 3-0 at TD Garden. Washington (29-25-10) had lost the night before in Philadelphia and they played like a team with no energy or spirit. In fact, Braden Holtby (40 saves) had been pulled against the Flyers but he was outstanding against Boston (40-17-5).

This had to be the easiest shutout of Tuukka Rask's career, at least with the black and gold. He only was called on to make 16 saves for his NHL-best sixth shutout of the season. Showing you how non-descript it was, he didn't earn any of the three stars for the game and that didn't even cause you to blink.

The B's got all the offense they would need in the second period. That goal-scoring machine Gregory Campbell tipped Patrice Bergeron's shot at 3:05 for his seventh goal of the season. Matt Bartkowski had the second assist. 5:15 after that, the Swedes connected as Carl Soderberg found Loui Eriksson out in front of the net. Eriksson displayed great hands to lift it over Holtby with little room to maneuver. It was also his seventh goal of the season with Kevan Miller picking up the second assist.

Washington pulled Holtby early to try and generate some offense but predictably that blew up in their faces. Brad Marchand scored an empty-netter, his team-leading 21st goal of the season at 18:26. The teams split the first two meetings and they'll settle things, in the regular season at least, on March 29 in DC.

Like the Red Sox and snow birds from around New England, the B's are lucky enough to get out of here this weekend to enjoy the sun and warmth of Florida. Of course, it's still technically a business trip as they go to Tampa Bay (34-24-5) to check in with Ryan Callahan and Steven Stamkos on Saturday (7, NESN) then its off to Sunrise to play the Panthers (23-32-7) on Sunday (5, NESN). The Lightning are fading fast, they've lost their last three games to fall 12 points behind the Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division.

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