A gentleman’s sweep!
The Bruins spotted the Capitals a game, then won four straight to eliminate Washington, capping the series with a 3-1 win on Sunday night.
The Bruins got a goal from David Pastrnak, two goals from Patrice Bergeron, and 39 saves from Tuukka Rask to send the Caps to the golf course and propel themselves into the second round.
On to the highlights!
We were scoreless after one, and in the second, the Capitals were peppering Rask with shots. It was the Bruins, however, who got on the board first, thanks to a great individual effort by Pastrnak and some shocking defense by the Capitals. 1-0 Bruins.
The Bruins’ top line wasn’t quite done in the second period, with Bergeron cashing in a few minutes after Pastrnak on a shot Ilya Samsonov would probably like to have back. 2-0 Bruins.
Patrice Bergeron gives Boston a 2-0 lead.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) May 24, 2021
Three shots on goal this period — two goals. pic.twitter.com/y40jrhKZKf
The Caps made things interesting from the get-go in the third, with Conor Sheary scoring less than a minute into the period to make it 2-1 Bruins.
With the Caps ratcheting up the pressure as the third went on, Bergeron came to the rescue with a great forecheck and great finish to make it 3-1 Bruins.
Patrice Bergeron singlehandedly stops an odd man rush and then scores to help the Bruins survive the Capitals siege pic.twitter.com/CFOlPY0IrW— Petrov McGuire (@McguirePetrov) May 24, 2021
That’d be it! The Caps appeared to have cut the deficit to one again when Lars Eller scored late in the third, but turns out Evgeny Kuznetsov crosschecked Rask in the crease and yuo can’t do that.
After the game...FEELINGS.
Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara embrace in the handshake line. pic.twitter.com/LtYqSVnNvt— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) May 24, 2021
On to Round 2!
- Overall, some impressive hockey from the Bruins over the previous six periods. Tonight’s effort was similar to Game 4 in how the Bruins simply outplayed the Capitals in all aspects of the game, with the B’s less reliant on their power play tonight.
- While it wasn’t the entire story, you could call this series a tale of two(ish) goaltenders. The Bruins got four wins, a 1.81 GAA, and a .941 save percentage from Rask; the Caps got uneven (and, at times, flat out bad) performances from Samsonov and Craig Anderson. While you can’t pin this loss on Samsonov, you need your goalie to do better than two goals on three shots in an elimination game.
- It’s easy to see why some Caps fans (and maybe the Capitals themselves) may be over Kuznetsov. He has all kinds of talent, but seems to struggle to keep putting it together. There was a chance in the second where, with the game scoreless, Kuznetsov found himself with the puck all alone at the top of the faceoff circle; instead of taking his time, he fired a slapshot about 8 feet over the net. That, plus the silly interference on Rask, and...yeah.
- Mike Reilly was fantastic tonight, and continues to be a sneaky great addition by Don Sweeney. While Taylor Hall grabbed the headlines, Reilly has been an excellent piece.
- While Rask made 40 saves, the Bruins did a great job keeping most of those shots (particularly in the second period) to the perimeter. Still, Rask made a number of grade-A stops, including a huge pad stop on Sheary early in the first period...a true game-changer, in retrospect.
- The Bruins got a good yeoman’s work performance from Chris Wagner tonight: he had a big hit on Dmitry Orlov before Bergeron’s first goal, and had a great defensive play to clear the zone with the Washington net empty in the final minutes of the game.
- Jarred Tinordi did just fine tonight filling in for Kevan Miller. His heaviness was definitely welcome in this game.
- While the spotlight will be on Washington’s goaltending, Nicklas Backstrom deserves a fair deal of criticism. Long one of the game’s elite playmakers, Backstrom had just a single assist in this series. Not good enough from a guy making north of $9 million.
- It’ll be a big offseason for Washington, as Alex Ovechkin’s contract is up. He’s been the face of their franchise for nearly two decades, but is this postseason a sign that a rebuild is needed?
- The Bruins will have a decent amount of time off prior to the start of Round 2, as the Penguins-Islanders series is tied at two games apiece. Enjoy the rest!