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Preview: Bruins are in DC with a chance to close it out in Game 5

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A nice trip home, to say the least.

NHL: MAY 21 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round - Capitals at Bruins Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Just the facts

When: Tonight, 7 PM

Where: Capital One Arena - Washington, DC

How to follow: NESN, USA, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: Japers Rink

Know your enemy

  • Alex Ovechkin: 2G, 2A, 4PTS; Garnet Hathaway: 2G, 1A, 3PTS; TJ Oshie: 1G, 2A, 3PTS
  • Ilya Samsonov: 0-2-0, 2.96 GAA, .913 save percentage

Game notes

  • Well folks, it’s fair to say that it was a successful trip home for the Bruins! The B’s left Capital One Arena last week with a sense of relief, knowing Brad Marchand’s OT goal had put them in a good spot; they come back with a chance to close out the series.
  • The biggest question for the Bruins heading into tonight’s game is who will replace Kevan Miller, who will not play. Based on comments from Saturday, the B’s appear to be deciding between Jarred Tinordi and Urho Vaakanainen. Given the level of physicality in this series, I’d expect Tinordi to get the nod.
  • The Capitals have some questions of their own, mainly in net. It’d be unfair to blame the Game 4 loss on Ilya Samsonov, who played pretty well, especially given what happened in Game 3. However, it wouldn’t be a shocker to see the Caps put Craig Anderson back in net in an effort to spark the team. At this point, you have to think it’d make more sense to live or die with the guy who’s your future in net, but who knows?
  • Caps fans were not in great spirits after Game 4, with many calling this series all but over. Of course, we all know better than to jump to that conclusion, and the Bruins know that as well. Still, tonight’s game feels like one were the Bruins will need to withstand an initial surge from a desperate team. If they can do that and take a lead, the Caps’ willpower may start to crumble.
  • If the Capitals are to have any chance in this series, they’re going to need their power play to come to life. The Bruins got a huge boost from their power play in Game 4, but you could argue that they got just as much of a boost from their penalty kill. If you give up seven power plays to a unit that features Alex Ovechkin and only give up one (and really, it was a fluke) goal, that’s a massive win.
  • The Bruins showed a willingness to switch things up on the power play last night, and it paid off. From being more willing to take one-timers to moving David Pastrnak around, the B’s had the Caps’ PK scrambling. That begs the question: if the Caps weren’t expecting what they saw in Game 4, what do they expect going into Game 5?
  • While Game 4 featured plenty of rough stuff, it would behoove the Bruins to keep their heads tonight. Given the injury to Miller and the antics from some of the Caps this series, it’d be easy to think “well, we have a series lead, we can get some payback.” However, regardless of what you did in Game 4, you don’t want to give the Caps’ PP any extra chances.

See ya tonight!