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BALTIMORE—The Washington Capitals came out of the All-Star break and quickly ended their seven-game losing streak, topping the Western Conference-leading Calgary Flames, 4-3, on Feb. 1 at home.
But the problems that have bothered the Caps in recent weeks on offense – showed up again on Sunday when Boston handed Washington a 1-0 defeat.
Washington could not do much and was outshot 38-24 by a Bruins’ team that badly wanted to end a 14-game losing streak against the Caps. Boston pressured Washington the entire game, controlled play most of the way and kept the Caps quiet until they tried to rally in the final minutes.
“We have to be more disciplined if we’re going to have success moving forward from here,” Bruins Head Coach Todd Reirden said in a postgame press conference. “I think they did a good job on their defensive zone, keeping us on the outside. Give them credit, and they played a good game…I think we needed more of that effort and play [like we had] in the third. The third period was better for us.”
The Capitals still are in the hunt for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division as both Columbus and Pittsburgh are also struggling. That will help Washington if it can turn things back around.
What will also help would be strong play from goalie Braden Holtby. The Capitals got that over the weekend in the win and the loss. He made 37 saves in Sunday’s loss, being beaten only by a David Krejci one-time midway through the second period.
When Holtby is at his best, so are the Capitals.
WIZARDS DEFENSE STRUGGLES CONTINUE
The Washington Wizards are still struggling with their defense, an issue that showed up again on Feb. 2 when they played the NBA’s top team, the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks trashed Washington for 73 points in the first half and went on to a 131-115 victory. Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 37 points and 10 boards for his own personal double-double. Brook Lopez added 21 points.
But the Wizards, who now have dropped three of four but still were just two-and-a-half games out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot after last weekend, could not stop the big guy.
“Giannis is a pretty good player,” Wizards Head Coach Scott Brooks told the media after the game.” The way he’s playing right now…it’s hard to stop. He’s improved their strength. He’s hard to guard. When he was out of the game, I thought we were pretty good.”
The Bucks rolled to a 73-50 halftime lead and cruised from there.
Bradley Beal finished with 24 points for the Wizards, and Jeff Green added 20 but it wasn’t enough.
FORMER RAVEN ED REED TO HOF
Long-time Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Feb. 2.
He played 11 of his 12 NFL season with the Ravens and proved to be a dynamic player from his first day.
Overall, Reed made the Pro Bowl nine times and was a five-time first-team All-Pro selection and was the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
He also finished with 64 career interceptions – seventh-best in NFL history – and his 1,590 return yards on those picks rank first.
He also has the record for the two longest interception returns in NFL history: 107 and 106 yards.
He also scored 14 touchdowns and was the first player to ever get return touchdowns on a punt, a blocked punt, an interception and a fumble recovery.
“Ed has the hearts of everyone in Baltimore – not just because he was a great player, but also for how he served others and impacted our community,” coach John Harbaugh said in a statement. “He was someone who made everyone better, whether that was on the field, in the film room or simply around town as he created opportunities for those in need.”