BOSTON - The Bruins' woes against the Washington Capitals continued on Saturday night.
Despite two goals from David Pastrnak and a strong final two periods, Boston could not overcome a slow start in a 3-2 loss to their Eastern Conference foes at TD Garden. The loss, which ended the Bruins' six-game points streak, was their 10th straight to Washington, a streak that began in 2014.
"I think we were the better team [over the final two periods] but we can't afford starts like that, especially against a team like Washington," said Pastrnak. "We always have a slow start against them…. it's unfortunate we couldn't get one point at least."
Video: BOS Recap: Pastrnak scores twice in 3-2 loss to Caps
For the second time in three games, Boston struggled through a sluggish first period. Washington opened up a 2-0 lead over the game's first 20 minutes on goals from Tom Wilson and Alex Ovechkin, a less-than-ideal formula with a number of goal-scorers out of the lineup.
"Each individual has to do their job as a professional hockey player to show up and be ready, and as a team you have to be ready as well," said Torey Krug, who assisted on both goals to extend his points streak to three games. "It falls on the older group in the room to make sure that we're ready to go and then all of a sudden the younger guys are falling in line after that.
"We have to do a better job for sure, that's been a tough spot for us the last few games."
Video: Bruins react after 3-2 loss to Washington
Even with the slow start, the Bruins rebounded over the game's 40 minutes and twice pulled within a goal - both times on tallies from Pastrnak. Down by two entering the second, the Bruins came out buzzing in the middle period and cut the Washington lead in half just 3:37 into the period.
Boston won a puck battle just inside their blue line and began a rush up ice. Krug skated the puck through the neutral zone and dished it to Bergeron, who carried it down the right wing and floated a nifty saucer pass to Pastrnak.
Pastrnak, who was breaking down the middle of the slot, then powered one through Holtby's five-hole to bring the Bruins within one.
Video: WSH@BOS: Pastrnak pots Bergeron's feed for nice goal
Boston continued to surge and appeared to be on the verge of finding the equalizer. But Holtby stood tall and the Capitals took advantage as the period came to a close, when Wilson collected his second of the night with a terrific tip on a Brooks Orpik shot from the point. The puck soared over the shoulder of Rask to put Washington ahead, 3-1, with 1:10 to go in the period.
"Tough pill to swallow in the dressing room, feeling like you outplayed them, got back in the game, and you're still had the same deficit," said Cassidy.
The Bruins did not have to wait long for a chance to answer as they were awarded a four-minute power-play just 46 seconds into the third when Orpik whacked Pastrnak with a high-stick. It was not, however, much of an advantage as the Bruins struggled to enter the zone with speed or create any sustained pressure. Another power play midway through the period also went for naught.
"That was disappointing," said Cassidy. "It was an opportunity to get back in the game and eventually the power play did score to get us back in the game, but you'd like to see it a little bit earlier and a little smoother because it's been a strength of our team…absolutely we needed to be better there."
Video: Cassidy discusses Bruins 3-2 loss to Capitals
Nonetheless, the Bruins were persistent and once again closed within a goal - on the power play. Pastrnak took a pass from Marchand in the corner and whipped one on Holtby from behind the goal line. The puck bounced off the Washington goalie and into the net with 2:32 remaining.
"I got it and I saw we had a little quick 2-on-1," said Pastrnak. "[Danton Heinen] was coming down off from the wall - that's usually the play - I tried to get it through the crease to the guy coming down and sometimes the goalie knows that's the play so I tried to catch him cheating and it went in."
Video: WSH@BOS: Pastrnak wrists home sharp-angle PPG
Boston put forth a furious rally in the waning seconds, but was unable to find the equalizer.
"We had some really good looks," said Bergeron. "I thought we had some good shots, good traffic…at the end we came close a few times, but bottom line - it's tough to let those points slip by a tough start."