BOSTON – Comprised of rookies, regular season pros, and some camp hopefuls, the Boston Bruins took the ice in a preseason tilt against a similarly constructed Washington Capitals. The Providence Bruins goaltending tandem of Zane McIntyre and Dan Vladar were tasked to man the Boston nets opposed by their counterparts from the Hershey Bears. While Washington rotated goaltenders midway through the game, McIntyre put in a full 60 minutes of work.
In one of his best performances, the journeyman McIntyre turned aside 21 of 22 total shots and blanked the Capitals in the shootout. While the Bruins put 33 shots on the Washington goal, only 2018 third-round draft pick Jakub Lauko hit twine, assisted by fellow 2018 draft pick Axel Andersson. Former Bruins forward Brett Connolly was the only Capitals player to solve McIntyre all afternoon, with a second period laser to the top corner of the net.
Tied through regulation and the five-minute overtime, the game was decided in a shootout. Former Providence Bruin Danton Heinen struck early, freezing Washington/Hershey goaltender Vitek Vanecek and walking the puck around the sprawled goaltender for the goal. David Krejci got the nod from Providence coach Jay Leach, and almost sealed the game by mimicking Heinen’s move. Lauko shot last for the Bruins but failed to solve Vanecek one-on-one. Fortunately, McIntyre stopped all three Washington riflemen and the Bruins skated away winning their first domestic preseason game following another shootout win half a world away in China early Saturday morning.
Czechs Mix: David Krejci and Jakub Lauko drove possession and the offense, keeping the puck moving in the offensive zone. The former deked several inexperienced Capitals out of their skates, and almost opened the scoring with a forehand-backhand that was suffocated by the Washington goalie. Lauko successfully opened the score, taking a pass and fighting off three Capitals before making a quick snapshot that beat Washington/Hershey goaltender Phoenix Copley five-hole.
Invisible Man: Aside from a fight he lost after a few swings, Zach Senyshyn was a non-factor today. At times, it looked like the 2015 first round pick was skating in circles, passively watching the play going around him. By the third period, Senyshyn started the in the grocery stick position effectively benched.
Providence Connection: In addition to Krejci and Lauko, Providence Bruins Ryan Fitzgerald and Karson Kuhlman never reached the score sheet but their hard-nosed play had the Capitals on their toes. Kuhlman and fellow Providence Bruin Cam Hughes combined for a nifty pick play behind the Washington net. Fitzgerald and Heinen, anchored by pivot Krejci were tasked with almost 20 minutes TOI each, driving play and possession all game.
Swede Life: Axel Andersson’s first introduction to hockey at TD Garden was on the top pair alongside Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. In addition to his assist to Lauko, Andersson logged a respectable 21:26 of TOI, with 2:45 of powerplay time on ice, and around half a minute of time on the penalty kill.
Providence coach Jay Leach is as much of an Andersson fan as I am; in Buffalo, during the prospects challenge, he said: “[Axel Andersson]… he is smooth, isn’t he?” Leach said. “I’ve only been able to see him play one game and (in) development camp, I have been thoroughly impressed with his game.”
Powerless Play: The Bruins were spotted four powerplay chances, and came up short on all of them. They struggled to break out into the neutral zone after the Capitals cleared the puck. Even if they made it through the neutral zone cleanly, the Bruins zone entries into the offensive zone were sloppy and usually swarmed by the Capitals penalty killers.
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