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Chance to advance: Isles road victory in Game 5 means New York can win series on home ice

The New York Islanders failed to register a shot on goal after Brock Nelson scored in the third period as they outlasted an onslaught of offense and an attempted comeback in a, 5-4, victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 5 at TD Garden on Monday.

Semyon Varlamov (3-3, 2.73 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in six games played) made 40 saves on 44 shots against in the win for the Islanders.

Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask (6-3, 2.29 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 10 games played) made 12 saves on 16 shots for no decision before he was replaced prior to the third period after 40:00 time on ice.

Jeremy Swayman (0-1, 3.33 goals-against average, .667 save percentage in one game played) stopped two out of three shots faced in the loss for Boston in relief of Rask.

The Bruins were without Kevan Miller (upper body) and Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) on Monday, though Miller continues to skate on his own and Carlo took part in morning skate prior to Game 5.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, would not comment one way or another whether or not Carlo will be ready for Game 6 on Wednesday night.

Cassidy did not adjust his defensive pairings, but made one change to his forward group, replacing Jake DeBrusk with Karson Kuhlman on the right side of the third line.

The long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players for the B’s on Monday included Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Carlo, Ondrej Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Steven Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, DeBrusk, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh and Miller.

David Pastrnak (6) rocketed a one-timer over Varlamov’s glove side with traffic in front from his usual spot at the top of the faceoff circle to give the Bruins the first lead of the night, 1-0, at 1:25 of the first period.

Charlie McAvoy (8) and Brad Marchand (4) tallied the assists as Boston went ahead early and looked to be in complete control of the game flow for most of the opening frame.

Once more, Varlamov allowed the game’s first goal for the fifth time in six starts this postseason, but his Islanders teammates have rendered that little fun fact mostly useless at this point.

Late in the period, despite an earlier non-call of similar nature, Sean Kuraly just tapped Noah Dobson with an errant slash and was assessed a minor penalty at 18:17.

New York’s resulting power play was rather efficient as the Isles won the faceoff, worked the puck back to the point, then across the ice to Mathew Barzal, whereby Barzal (3) skated forward ever so slightly before unloading a snap shot from the dot over Rask’s glove and under the bar to tie the game, 1-1.

Dobson (5) and Jordan Eberle (5) had the assists on Barzal’s power-play goal at 18:49.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins and Islanders were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard, while Boston led in shots on goal, 11-7.

The B’s also held the advantage in takeaways (9-4), while New York led in blocked shots (5-3), giveaways (4-3), hits (19-17) and faceoff win percentage (65-35).

The Islanders were 1/1 on the power play, while the Bruins had yet to see time on the skater advantage after one period of play.

Matt Grzelcyk cross checked Leo Komarov early in the middle frame, presenting another power play to the Isles at 2:56 of the second period.

Late in the resulting advantage, New York’s power play benefitted off of a lucky bounce off of Connor Clifton’s skate right to where Kyle Palmieri (6) was waiting to score from the doorstep– giving the Islanders their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 4:49.

Josh Bailey (4) and Nick Leddy (4) tallied the assists on Palmieri’s power-play goal.

Moments later, Marchand (6) entered the attacking zone with a nifty deke around Ryan Pulock before dragging the puck around Varlamov to tie the game, 2-2, at 7:27 of the second period.

Pastrnak (7) and McAvoy (9) had the helpers on Marchand’s goal.

Midway through the middle frame, Bailey (5) buried the rubber biscuit top-shelf from point blank over the blocker on a close range give-and-go play for the Islanders.

New York jumped ahead, 3-2, as Jean-Gabriel Pageau (8) and Anthony Beauvillier (6) pocketed the assists on Bailey’s goal at 14:30.

The hits just kept coming for Boston as Chris Wagner cut a rut to the sin bin for high sticking at 15:18, then the Isles notched another power-play goal at 16:38.

This time, Eberle (3) tallied the power-play goal over the far glove side as New York made quick work of sending the puck around the attacking zone before hitting the twine.

Barzal (6) and Dobson (6) had the assists on Eberle’s power-play goal as the Islanders extended their lead to two-goals, 4-2.

For the first time Monday night, Boston went on the power play as Eberle caught Clifton with a quick slash at 18:50, but the B’s couldn’t capitalized on the skater advantage as it was split between the late second period and final frame of regulation.

Through 40 minutes of action in Game 5, the Islanders led, 4-2, on the scoreboard, despite Boston being in command of shots on goal, 26-16, including a, 15-9, advantage in the second period alone.

The Isles led in blocked shots (11-5) and hits (29-28), while the Bruins held the advantage in takeaways (12-8) and faceoff win% (53-47).

Both teams had six giveaways each, while New York was 3/3 on the power play and Boston was 0/1.

Cassidy switched out Rask for Swayman to start the third period, but Boston’s nightmare only continued early in the frame as Nelson (4) wired a puck from the slot under Swayman’s glove to give New York a, 5-2, lead at 1:59.

Beauvillier (7) and Adam Pelech (1) notched the assists as the Islanders capitalized on another failed defensive zone exit for the Bruins.

Less than a couple of minutes later, Pelech was penalized for hooking Pastrnak at 3:24.

Boston didn’t waste time on the ensuing power play as Pastrnak (7) scored his second goal of the game on another one-timer.

McAvoy (10) and Patrice Bergeron (5) were credited with the assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal as the B’s trailed, 5-3, at 3:48 of the third period.

Just as it looked like the Bruins might be able to get momentum going, they were hit with an automatic infraction as Bergeron sent an errant puck over the glass (minutes after the Islanders avoided a missed call for the same thing) at 7:41.

Though the Bruins managed to kill off Bergeron’s minor, it set their inevitable comeback attempt back more than a few minutes.

Finally, David Krejci (2) tapped in a rebound through Varlamov– just under the glove while the Isles netminder tried to desperately make a save as the puck trickled over the goal line.

Craig Smith (3) and Mike Reilly (4) had the assists on Krejci’s goal as the Bruins pulled to within one– trailing, 5-4, at 14:43 of the third period.

As a result of Krejci’s goal, Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz, used his timeout with 5:17 remaining to ease the nerves of New York’s skaters as the Bruins were outshooting the Isles, 16-3, at the time of Krejci’s tally.

New York had not recorded a shot on goal since Nelson’s eventual game-winner.

With 1:47 left on the clock, Swayman vacated the crease for an extra attacker.

Less than a minute later, after a stoppage in play, Boston used their timeout to draw up one last masterplan with 1:06 remaining.

Once more, Swayman sprinted for the bench with about 45 seconds left in the action, but the Bruins botched a play in the attacking zone, were forced to regroup with about 15 seconds left and barely got off one more attempt as the final horn sounded.

The Islanders had won, 5-4, and stolen Game 5 on road ice– securing a 3-2 series lead as a result.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 44-19, including an, 18-3, advantage in the third period alone, while New York led in blocked shots (15-6) and hits (38-37).

The Bruins wrapped up Monday’s action leading in giveaways (9-7) and faceoff win% (51-49) and went 1/2 on the power play, while the Isles went 3/4 on the skater advantage.

The Islanders take a 3-2 series lead heading back to New York for Game 6 on Wednesday night.

Puck drop at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN for coverage, while those in Canada can choose from CBC, SN or TVAS.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Islanders breakthrough with, 4-1, win & tie series 2-2 heading back to Boston for Game 5

The New York Islanders managed to pull ahead midway through the third period before adding a pair of empty net goals to defeat the Boston Bruins, 4-1, in Game 4 of their 2021 Second Round series at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.

Semyon Varlamov (2-3, 2.48 goals-against average, .929 save percentage in five games played) made 28 saves on 29 shots against in the win for New York.

Boston goaltender, Tuukka Rask (6-3, 2.04 goals-against average, .934 save percentage in nine games played) stopped 30 out of 32 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins were without Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (upper body), Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) and John Moore (hip) on Saturday.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, informed reporters after Saturday’s morning skate that Miller continues to skate back in Boston and that Carlo is “feeling better” and rode the bike on Saturday, so he’s not yet ruled in or out of the lineup for Game 5.

As a result of Carlo being out of the lineup for Game 4, Jarred Tinordi drew into Cassidy’s plans on the third pairing alongside Connor Clifton, while Jeremy Lauzon was promoted to the right side of Mike Reilly on the second defensive pair.

Boston’s long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players on Saturday included Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Carlo, Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Steven Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman and Miller.

Tensions boiled midway through the opening frame as Taylor Hall and Scott Mayfield exchanged fisticuffs at 7:28 of the first period.

Each player received a fighting major, while it was just the second fight ever for Hall (and his first postseason fight), who last fought Derek Dorsett– then of the Columbus Blue Jackets– back in the days when Hall was on the Edmonton Oilers on March 3, 2011.

It was also the first fight of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs for Boston.

About a couple minutes later, Tinordi and Matt Martin dropped the gloves and exchanged punches before Tinordi wrestled Martin to the ice after a scrum ensued following Mathew Barzal’s cross check on Curtis Lazar at 9:23 of the opening period.

Barzal was assessed a minor infraction, while Tinordi and Martin went to the box with five-minute majors for fighting.

The Bruins weren’t able to convert on the ensuing power play.

With about three minutes left in the first period, David Pastrnak sent a one-timer off the iron behind Varlamov, whereby the puck bounced off the post and struck the Isles netminder’s skate before Varlamov fell back onto the loose puck.

Pastrnak’s missed shot on net came back to haunt Boston on the scoreboard as the two teams entered the first intermission still tied, 0-0, despite the Bruins leading in shots on goal (so, excluding Pastrnak’s shot off the post), 11-7.

The B’s also led in takeaways (1-0), giveaways (3-1) and hits (17-12), while the two clubs each recorded eight blocked shots and went, 50-50, in faceoff win percentage in the first 20 minutes of action.

New York had yet to see time on the power play, while Boston was 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.

Martin went to the box for holding at 2:46 of the second period as the action resumed after the first intermission.

The Bruins didn’t waste too much time on the resulting power play as David Krejci (1) buried a loose puck for the game’s first goal as Brad Marchand (3) picked up the primary assist– surpassing Phil Esposito for sole possession of the fourth-most postseason points as a Bruin in franchise history in the process– while Pastrnak (6) was charged with the secondary helper.

Krejci’s power-play goal gave Boston a, 1-0, lead at 3:57 of the second period.

It would be the first and last time that the Bruins led all night and it didn’t last long, despite Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz, challenging the call on the ice on the grounds that he believed there had been incidental goaltender interference that would otherwise negate the goal.

Upon review, however, the call on the ice was upheld– Krejci’s goal would count, while New York’s bench was assessed a minor for delay of game, served by Jordan Eberle at 3:57 of the second period.

Upon leaving the box Eberle had a couple of quick chances denied by Rask, but within the vulnerable minute after special teams action, the Bruins were caught lagging as Barzal worked a quick pass to Kyle Palmieri (5) for the one-timer goal from point blank.

Both Boston defenders were below the goal line, while Charlie Coyle shattered his stick while trying to disrupt Palmieri’s reach in front of the crease (instead of just going for a stick lift or, you know, shoving Palmieri out of the way).

Barzal (5) and Eberle (4) tallied the assists on Palmieri’s goal as the Isles tied the game, 1-1, at 6:38 of the second period.

Moments later, Barzal delivered a few cross checks on Krejci, leading to No. 46 in black and gold retaliating with a swift spear, later determined to be a slash to Barzal.

The ref at the other end of the rink with full sight of all of the events that transpired leading to the outcome determined that only the retaliation was worthy enough of a penalty– at first handing out a five-minute major, only to be reviewed and downgraded to a minor.

Not only was it not the on-ice official closest to the play making the call, but the one at the other end with a clear line of sight for the multitude of infractions committed and yet… …at least there wasn’t another traumatic brain injury on full display.

Anyway, Krejci went to the box at 11:16 and the Bruins killed off the minor penalty.

Late in the middle frame, Charlie McAvoy caught Anthony Beauvillier with a high stick and was sent to the box at 19:06, yielding a power play to the Islanders that would extend into the final frame.

Through 40 minutes of action, the score was tied, 1-1, and shots on goal were even, 21-21, despite New York leading in shots on goal in the second period alone, 14-10.

Boston led in blocked shots (14-10), takeaways (2-1) and giveaways (8-5), while the Islanders lead in faceoff win% (55-45).

Both teams managed to amass 20 hits apiece, while the Isles were 0/2 and the B’s were 1/3 on the power play heading into the second intermission.

Barzal (2) batted a loose puck out of mid-air on an odd bounce past Rask to give the Islanders a, 2-1, lead at 13:03 of the third period and New York never looked back from that moment on.

Mayfield (4) and Noah Dobson (4) had the assists on Barzal’s eventual game-winning goal.

No penalties were called in the third period as the Bruins pulled Rask for an extra attacker with about 1:11 remaining in the game.

A forced turnover led to a chance for Casey Cizikas (2) to put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal to make it, 3-1, Isles with an assist for Cal Clutterbuck (1) at 18:57.

Rask vacated the crease once more as the Bruins were desperate to score a pair of goals in the final 63 seconds, but couldn’t muster anything as once more New York hit the back of the empty net– this time from Jean-Gabriel Pageau (3) with an assist by Leo Komarov (3) to make it, 4-1, for the Islanders at 19:57.

At the final horn, the Isles had won, 4-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 34-29, including a, 13-8, advantage in the thrid period alone.

New York wrapped up Saturday night’s effort leading in giveaways (11-9) and hits (30-27), while Boston led in blocked shots (20-13). The two teams split faceoff win%, 50-50, while the Isles went 0/2 and the Bruins went 1/3 on the power play.

The series is tied 2-2 as a result of the Islanders’ victory in Game 4 on Saturday, which means there will be a Game 6 after Game 5 on Monday in Boston.

Puck drop at TD Garden is scheduled to be at 6:30 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN for the action, while those in Canada can choose between SN1 and TVAS.

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Marchand lifts Bruins to 2-1 series lead in, 2-1, OT victory on the road

Brad Marchand scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Boston Bruins beat the New York Islanders, 2-1, in Game 3 of their 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round matchup at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Thursday night.

Tuukka Rask (6-2, 2.04 goals-against average, .934 save percentage in eight games played) made 28 saves on 29 shots against in the win for Boston.

Meanwhile, New York netminder, Semyon Varlamov (1-3, 2.83 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in four games played) stopped 39 out of 41 shots faced in the loss.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, surpassed Art Ross for the second-most postseason wins behind the bench with Boston, earning his 33rd career Stanley Cup Playoffs win as the B’s head coach. Cassidy trails Claude Julien (57 postseason wins with Boston) for the most in franchise history.

The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (upper body) and John Moore (hip) on Thursday.

Though Kase and Moore are shutdown for the year, Cassidy provided reporters with an update on Miller’s progress ahead of Game 3 and indicated that the earliest the Boston defender might return to the lineup is for Game 5.

Craig Smith returned to the lineup after missing Game 2 with a lower body injury.

Smith was slotted into his usual role on the right wing on the second line, while Jake DeBrusk was bumped back to the third line and Karson Kuhlman returned to being one of many on the list of healthy scratches at this time of year.

Cassidy made no other changes to his lineup for Thursday night’s action in New York.

Boston’s long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players included Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Moore, Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Steven Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh, Kuhlman, Jarred Tinordi and Miller.

Taylor Hall forced a turnover on a great backcheck that led to Matt Grzelcyk feeding Hall with a pass as the Bruins worked their way into the attacking zone.

Hall hit Smith (2) with a pass through the high slot for a catch and release goal on Varlamov’s glove side to put Boston up, 1-0, at 5:52 of the first period, while Hall (2) and Grzelcyk (3) tallied the assists.

Moments later, Rask made a big stop with his blocker on a breakaway by Anthony Beauvillier as the B’s held the lead.

Midway through the opening frame, Marchand caught Travis Zajac with a high stick and was assessed a minor penalty at 11:08, presenting the Islanders with the first power play of the night.

New York couldn’t convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

Heading into the first intermission, Boston led, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite trailing, 7-5, in shots on goal to the Isles.

The Islanders also held the advantage in blocked shots (8-3), giveaways (6-3) and faceoff win percentage (63-38), while the Bruins led in takeaways (3-1) and hits (13-11).

New York was the only beneficiary of a power play opportunity in the first period, though the Isles went 0/1 in the process. Boston had yet to see any action on the skater advantage after one period.

Neither team managed to score a goal in the middle frame, but David Pastrnak managed to slash Ryan Pulock at 8:12 of the second period– presenting the Islanders with their second power play of the night.

New York failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

Through 40 minutes of action, the Bruins remained in control of the scoreboard, 1-0, and led in shots on goal, 18-15, including a, 13-8, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston held the advantage in takeaways (3-1), but New York dominated in just about everything else, including, blocked shots (14-9), giveaways (9-6), hits (28-22) and faceoff win% (57-43).

The Islanders were 0/2 on the power play, while the Bruins still had yet to see any action on the skater advantage after two periods.

Andy Greene caught Charlie Coyle with a high stick and presented the Bruins with their first power play of the night at 1:38 of the third period.

Boston did not score on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

Moments later, Cal Clutterbuck checked Brandon Carlo into the boards as Carlo’s head bounced off the glass and left the B’s defender dazed and visibly confused as he was helped off his knees by the athletic training staff and escorted down the tunnel.

There was no penalty on the play and Carlo would not return for the rest of the night.

Cassidy told reporters after the game that Carlo was feeling “pretty good” and that the Bruins would have a better read on the extent of his injury in the morning on Friday.

Josh Bailey tripped Charlie McAvoy at 11:04 and the B’s went on the power play for the second time as a result, but once more Boston was unsuccessful on the skater advantage.

Moments later, while on a long shift and struggling to get the puck out of their own zone, the Bruins gave up a goal as Mathew Barzal (1) poked around enough to slip a puck through Rask and tie the game, 1-1, in the process.

Kyle Palmieri (2) and Pulock (2) had the assists on Barzal’s eighth career Stanley Cup Playoff goal at 14:34 of the third period.

With about 3:16 remaining in regulation, Rask denied Beauvillier on yet another breakaway– this time with Rask turning aside a backhand shot to prevent the Islanders from taking their first lead of the night.

Shortly thereafter, Sean Kuraly delivered a quick cross check that brought Palmieri to his knees and presented New York with one final power play at 17:45 of the third period.

Boston killed off Kuraly’s minor as the two teams were tied, 1-1, after 60 minutes of play on Thursday.

The Bruins led in shots on goal, 39-24, and had a, 21-9, advantage in shots in the third period alone.

Boston also held the advantage in takeaways (4-1), while the Isles led in blocked shots (22-13), giveaways (12-9), hits (37-33) and faceoff win% (55-45).

As there were no penalties called in the overtime period, the Islanders finished the night 0/3 on the power play, while the B’s went 0/2 on the skater advantage.

Rask kept Boston in the game early in the extra frame before McAvoy brought the puck from his own zone into the attacking zone, dropping a short pass to Marchand in the process while Marchand skated up along the wall deep into the zone.

Marchand (5) fired a shot from almost the goal line past Varlamov on the short side to the opposite corner on the far end of the net behind the New York netminder and into the twine, 3:36 into overtime.

McAvoy (7) and Patrice Bergeron (4) were credited with the assists on the game-winning goal as Marchand put the Bruins ahead of the Islanders, 2-1, in Game 3 as well as in the series by the same margin (2-1).

The goal gave Marchand his 102nd career playoff point (42-60–102 totals in 129 postseason games)– tying Phil Esposito (46-56–102 totals in 71 Stanley Cup Playoff games) for fourth place on Boston’s all time postseason scoring list.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 41-29, despite trailing New York, 5-2, in shots in overtime alone.

The Isles dominated in blocked shots (22-14), giveaways (13-10), hits (38-35) and faceoff win% (56-44).

The Bruins lead the series 2-1 heading into Game 4 Saturday night at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in New York.

Puck drop is scheduled for about 7:15 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can catch the action on NBC, while those in Canada can tune to CBC, SN or TVAS.

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Pastrnak scores hat trick as Boston opens Second Round with a, 5-2, win

David Pastrnak joined the likes of Phil Esposito, Cam Neely, Johnny Bucyk and David Krejci as one of five players to record two or more postseason hat tricks in a Boston Bruins uniform in Saturday night’s, 5-2, victory over the New York Islanders in Game 1.

17,400 fans were in attendance at TD Garden to watch as the Bruins took a 1-0 series lead in their 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round matchup with the Islanders as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts lifted all COVID-19 restrictions in the state on Saturday.

Tuukka Rask (5-1, 1.84 goals-against average, .937 save percentage in six games played) made 20 saves on 22 shots against in the win for Boston.

New York netminder, Ilya Sorokin (4-1, 2.33 goals-against average, .934 save percentage in five games played) stopped 35 out of 39 shots against in the loss for the Islanders.

The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (upper body) and John Moore (hip) on Saturday, while Jeremy Lauzon returned to the lineup from an upper body injury.

Lauzon replaced Jarred Tinordi on the third defensive pairing and was slotted alongside Connor Clifton, while B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no other changes to his lineup.

Boston’s long list of healthy scratches included Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyhsyn, Jack Studnicka, Moore, Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Steven Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman, Tinordi and Miller.

Notable New York forward and captain, Anders Lee, is out for the postseason with a knee injury.

Midway through the opening frame, Charlie McAvoy hooked Brock Nelson and cut a rut to the penalty box as a result, yielding the game’s first power play to the Islanders at 11:02 of the first period.

It didn’t take New York that much time to capitalize on the skater advantage as Anthony Beauvillier (4) deflected a shot through Rask underneath the blocker to give the Isles the night’s first lead, 1-0.

Noah Dobson (3) and Jordan Eberle (2) tallied the assists on Beauvillier’s power-play goal at 11:48 of the first period.

Late in the period, Andy Greene caught Charlie Coyle with a high stick and presented the Bruins with their first power play of the night at 19:27 of the first period.

Special teams were wild as Pastrnak (3) picked up a rebound, held the puck for a second while Sorokin kept sliding across the crease, then buried the rubber biscuit on the far side over the glove.

Krejci (3) and Patrice Bergeron (2) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal as Boston tied the game, 1-1, at 19:36.

Entering the first intermission, the scoreboard was even at, 1-1, while the Bruins led in shots on goal, 18-8.

Boston also held the advantage in giveaways (8-4) and faceoff win percentage (53-47), while New York led in blocked shots (4-2), takeaways (7-2) and hits (21-13).

Both teams were 1/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Nick Ritchie hooked Travis Zajac at 2:37 of the second period, but the Islanders weren’t able to score on the ensuing power play.

Midway through the middle frame, Pastrnak (4) sent a shot off of Islanders defender, Ryan Pulock, and over Sorokin’s blocker to give Boston their first lead of the night, 2-1.

Bergeron (3) and Brad Marchand (1) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s second goal of the night at 11:08 of the second period.

The Bruins did not hold their first lead of the night for long, however, as Adam Pelech (1) knotted things up, 2-2, with a one-timer over Rask’s glove– bar down– from downtown at the point at 12:34.

Through 40 minutes of action, the Bruins and Islanders were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 30-12, including a, 12-4, advantage in the second period alone.

The B’s also led in giveaways (11-6) and faceoff win% (54-46), while the Isles led in blocked shots (7-4), takeaways (9-3) and hits (36-28) after two periods.

New York was 1/2 and Boston remained 1/1 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Boston botched a line change early in the third period, resulting in a bench minor for too many skaters on the ice at 4:02.

The Bruins managed to kill off the infraction and capitalized on a surge in momentum in the vulnerable minute thereafter as McAvoy (1) blasted a shot from the point– about where Pelech had scored his goal for the Islanders– and gave Boston a, 3-2, lead as a result.

Sean Kuraly and Ritchie worked the forecheck, while Krejci setup McAvoy for the one-timer while Ritchie screened Sorokin on the doorstep as the Bruins pulled ahead and never looked back at 6:20 of the third period.

Krejci (4) had the only assist on McAvoy’s goal, however.

Moments later, the Bruins tweeted that Craig Smith (lower body) would not return to the game, while Cassidy had already begun rotating wingers on the second line with Krejci and Taylor Hall.

Late in the period, Pastrnak (5) completed his hat trick on an individual effort as the Islanders turned the puck over in the neutral zone– leading No. 88 in black and gold to deke past a New York skater, cut to the middle and sent his shot over the blocker while Hall crashed the net as a screen.

The Bruins led, 4-2, as a result at 15:50 of the third period as Pastrnak notched his first hat trick in the postseason since amassing a six-point night in a, 7-3, victory in Game 2 of Boston’s 2018 First Round matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 14, 2018.

With about 3:50 remaining in the action, Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

Shortly thereafter, Mathew Barzal tripped Clifton and cut a rut to the sin bin as a result at 16:43.

In the dying seconds of the ensuing power play, Hall (3) buried the puck into the empty net at 18:35 for a power-play goal to seal the deal on Boston’s, 5-2, victory in Game 1.

Krejci (5) and Mike Reilly (3) tallied the assists as Hall didn’t give up on the play– giving Krejci three assists on the night in the process.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 5-2, and taken a 1-0 series lead as a result.

The Bruins finished Saturday night leading in shots on goal, 40-22, despite both teams managing to fire 10 shots on net each in the third period.

New York wrapped up the night’s action leading in blocked shots (9-7) and hits (49-42), while Boston led in giveaways (14-11) and faceoff win% (52-48).

The Isles went 1/3 and the B’s went 2/2 on the power play on Saturday.

Having won Game 1, the Bruins lead the series 1-0 and look to go up 2-0 in the series in Game 2 on Monday night at TD Garden. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can catch the action on NBCSN, while those in Canada can tune to SN1 or TVAS.

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NHL Nick's Net Previews

2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round Preview: MassMutual NHL East Division

Nobody’s perfect.

Both in First Round prediction outcomes and in trying (and failing) to deliver predictions for each First Round series ahead of time.

The short excuse is that the overlap of the 2020-21 regular season and the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs made it difficult to finish compiling stats, writing game recaps and subsequently writing previews for each series that hadn’t already started.

Then it’s a matter of catching up.

Plus there’s a few other projects being worked on right now that you’ll hopefully get to see soon.

Granted, there’s a good chance that if you’re reading this it’s because 1) you’re somehow an oddly dedicated fan of my random musings, 2) you’ve accidentally stumbled upon this blog or 3) you’re a potential employer trying to get a read on if this guy is actually desirable.

Anyway, the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs is mostly over as only the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montréal Canadiens have yet to sort out who will be taking on the Winnipeg Jets in the Second Round of Scotia NHL North Division action.

For now, let’s just keep it simple with the MassMutual NHL East Division on the docket for Saturday and the Discover NHL Central Division and Honda NHL West Division on the calendar for Sunday, then we’ll go from there.

(3) Boston Bruins (33-16-7, 73 points) vs (4) New York Islanders (32-17-7, 71 points)

Boston: 56 games played, .652 points percentage, 25 regulation wins.

N.Y. Islanders: 56 games played, .634 points percentage, 24 regulation wins.

The Boston Bruins eliminated the Washington Capitals in five games (4-1) in the First Round and are poised to be in command of home ice advantage in their Second Round series matchup with the New York Islanders by virtue of being the higher seed as both MassMutual NHL East Division First Round matchups technically resulted in upset victories by the “underdogs”.

Sure, Boston has had a bit of recent playoff success riding the momentum of their last four consecutive seasons with at least one playoff series victory and New York improved to 5-1 all time against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Stanley Cup Playoff series, but that’s besides the point.

The Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2019-20, having recorded the league’s best regular season record at the time of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, well, officially being declared a pandemic and cutting last year’s regular season short.

They entered 2020-21 as favorites to not only lead their division at season’s end, but contend for the Presidents’ Trophy in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history.

That… didn’t pan out, but it might actually be a benefit to the current roster to not be seen as the clear cut favorites on paper.

To remind everyone that didn’t read the First Round preview for Boston, the Bruins were led by Brad Marchand (29-40–69 totals in 53 games played) in the regular season, with Patrice Bergeron (23-25–48 totals in 54 games) and David Pastrnak (20-28–48 totals in 48 games) rounding out the top-three scorers on the team.

Through five games this postseason, the B’s look like they could be on the verge of something special as a plausible last hurrah for their current core with David Krejci and Tuukka Rask set to become unrestricted free agents at season’s end and Father Time™️ eventually going to become a factor and catch up with the ageless wonders that are Bergeron and Marchand.

It’s likely that Rask will be back for another season or two to serve as a mentor for current backup goaltender, Jeremy Swayman, like how Tim Thomas played that role for the franchise’s all-time winningest goaltender in the regular season and playoffs.

Or if you’re from outside the Boston market– think like what Pekka Rinne just did for the last two seasons in Nashville as Juuse Saros gradually took over as the starter for the Predators.

Krejci, on the other hand, has a bit more of a clouded future.

Bruins president, Cam Neely, told reporters earlier in the week that the organization has shelved talks of extensions with Rask and Krejci for after the postseason (a standard for the industry, especially with an expansion draft looming for the Seattle Kraken), but Neely was open to the idea of the two “one team” players spending their entire NHL careers in Boston.

That said, there’s always the possibility for retirement for Krejci or that he might go spend a few seasons in Czech Republic while winding down the twilight of his professional playing days.

None of that is relevant for the here and now, however.

Right now, the Bruins are focused on getting past the Islanders in the Second Round– a team that’s given them a bit of an inconsistent ride to say the least this season.

Boston dropped the first five games against New York, but won the last three meetings between the two clubs in the regular season.

That doesn’t actually say as much as one would think, since the Capitals had more recent success as the season progressed against Boston.

But then again, Washington did lose.

It’s also not like the B’s didn’t get better as the season went on– especially since they added Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar and Mike Reilly ahead of the trade deadline in April.

Boston has a legitimate top-six forward group and interchangeable components that can get the job done in the bottom-six, as well as a defense that has a mix of youth and experience– sans Kevan Miller for Game 1, at least, as Miller is out with an upper body injury, though Jarred Tinordi did fine for a bottom-pairing role in Game 5 against Washington.

Rask’s save percentage has gone up in each of his first five postseason games so far.

Through five games in the 2021 postseason, Pastrnak leads the team in scoring with six points (two goals, four assists), while bona fide stallion , Charlie McAvoy, has five assists and Bergeron (3-1–4 totals in five games) round out the top-three in postseason production thus far.

In the regular season, Rask led the way in the crease for the B’s with a 15-5-2 record in 24 games (24 starts), a 2.28 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage, as well as a pair of shutouts in that span.

Jaroslav Halak started the season as Boston’s backup, but ended it as the third string netminder with a 9-6-4 record in 19 games (17 starts) for the Bruins with a 2.53 goals-against average, .905 save percentage and two shutouts in 2020-21.

Swayman emerged as Rask and Halak spent time out of the lineup due to injury, as well as an extended stay in COVID protocol for the latter goaltender (perhaps affecting Halak’s performance as a result).

But before Swayman amassed a 7-3-0 record in 10 games (10 starts), as well as a 1.50 goals-against average, a .945 save percentage and two shutouts, Dan Vladar made five appearances (all starts) and earned a 2-2-2-1 record to go along with a 3.40 goals-against average and an .886 save percentage.

Don’t let Vladar’s numbers fool you, however, as one desperate start on the second night of a back-to-back against the Capitals sank otherwise decent stats for the projected backup to Swayman someday on Boston’s depth chart.

In the postseason, Rask has put up a 4-1 record in five games with a 1.81 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage.

So in other words, it’s midseason form for No. 40 for the black and gold.

Gerry Cheevers has faith in Rask.

At the other end of the rink, the Islanders utilized head coach, Barry Trotz’s, patented trap to stupefy Pittsburgh’s potent offense in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, while also appearing to not really have to do that much to beat Tristan Jarry in the crease in six games (4-2).

This time we mean it. Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is on its last legs.

Next season, the Isles will be opening up their new home at UBS Arena in Elmont, New York– making the “long” trek from Uniondale, New York to their new address.

Both TD Garden and the Coliseum are expected to have near full capacity crowds for the entirety of the series, so if you already couldn’t stand Boston and Long Island enough for some reason, expect the crowds to be as loud and as obnoxious as ever.

That said, we could all use a good laugh and some release from the last year and a half of pain, grief and suffering. Hopefully the cheers and jeers do not veer into the distasteful.

It is, after all, just a game.

Anyway, the Islanders were led by Mathew Barzal (17-28–45 totals in 55 games) this season, while Josh Bailey (8-27–35 totals in 54 games), Brock Nelson (18-15–33 totals in 56 games) and Jordan Eberle (16-17–33 totals in 56 games) rounded out the top-three in team scoring in 2020-21.

In the crease, Semyon Varlamov led the way with a 19-11-4 record in 36 games (35 starts), as well as a 2.04 goals-against average, a .929 save percentage and seven shutouts in the regular season.

Ilya Sorokin was the backup netminder for New York and amassed a 13-6-3 record in 22 games (21 starts) and had a 2.17 goals-against average, a .918 save percentage and three shutouts in the process.

Through six postseason games, Anthony Beauvillier (3-4–7 totals) and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (1-6–7 totals) are tied for the team lead in playoff scoring, while Bailey and Nelson rank tied for third on the roster with six points (three goals, three assists for each player).

Varlamov’s gone 0-2 in two games (two starts) and has a 3.61 goals-against average, as well as a .903 save percentage, while Sorokin has taken over with the hot hands in net– amassing a 4-0 record in four games (four starts) and an equally impressive goal against average (1.95) and save percentage (.943) as Rask’s numbers for Boston thus far in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Isles captain Anders Lee remains out of the lineup with a lower body injury that ended his season after 27 games in 2020-21.


These two teams are meeting for the third time in a series, with the Islanders holding a 2-0 all time record, having defeated the Bruins in five games (4-1) in the 1980 Quarterfinal and in six games (4-2) in the 1983 Wales Conference Final.

Both times that New York defeated Boston, the Isles went on to win the Stanley Cup.

In the 2020-21 regular season, however, the Bruins went 3-3-2 in eight games against New York, while the Islanders went 5-2-1 against Boston.

New York outscored Boston, 21-18, in that span, though the Bruins held the advantage in total shots on goal over the course of their regular season series, 269-216.

Stellar goaltending has been a constant for both teams, outside of the odd, 7-2, win for the Islanders on Feb. 25th against the B’s.

The Bruins have Hall, the Islanders have Kyle Palmieri.

Depth scoring is paramount, especially if New York’s trap can get to Boston’s first line as effective as they were against Pittsburgh’s first line.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, is a dynamic coach, however, while Trotz might continue to go back to the well even if it’s starting to run dry– simply out of the comfort and ease of familiarity.

This series has all the makings of being a long, grueling battle that could see Boston victorious over the Islanders for the first time in the postseason in seven games when all is said and done.

Regular season outcomes:

1-0 NYI at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 18th

4-2 NYI at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 13th

7-2 NYI at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 25th

2-1 F/SO NYI at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 9th

4-3 F/OT NYI at TD Garden on March 25th

4-1 BOS at TD Garden on April 15th

3-0 BOS at TD Garden on April 16th

3-2 F/OT BOS at TD Garden on May 10th

Schedule:

5/29- Game 1 NYI @ BOS 8 PM ET on NBC, SN360, TVAS2

5/31- Game 2 NYI @ BOS 7:30 PM ET on NBCSN, SN1, TVAS

Games 3 and 4, as well as 5 through 7 (if necessary) have yet to be announced by the league at the time of this writing.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Bruins eliminate Capitals in five games, advance to Second Round

After 14 seasons with the Boston Bruins, Zdeno Chara signed a one-year contract with the Washington Capitals on Dec. 30, 2020. He left Boston better than he found it and the Bruins handed the captaincy from their former defender to Patrice Bergeron on Jan. 6, 2021.

As the National Hockey League produced a format for the 2020-21 regular season and 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs it was revealed that the Bruins and their ex would get to meet each other eight times over the course of the season and– as fate would have it– at least four mores times times in the playoffs.

On Sunday night, Bergeron shook hands with Chara after the Bruins defeated the Capitals, 3-1, in Game 5 and eliminated Washington on the road at Capital One Arena– winning the series 4-1.

Chara, a 44-year-old veteran of the game, now faces the question of whether to retire or whether to return to the ice– wherever it may be for one more run, one more chance at getting a second Stanley Cup ring and his first since winning with Boston in 2011.

For Bergeron and the rest of his teammates, the Bruins’ journey continues as the transition from the old guard gives way to the youth, experience and new characters that have emerged.

There was life before Chara for Bergeron, who made his NHL debut in the 2003-04 season as an 18-year-old, and there is life after Chara, who signed as free agent with the Bruins on July 1, 2006, and played in a spoked-B uniform until the bubble burst in the 2020 Second Round in five games against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Unlike the dissatisfying taste in the mouth of those involved in the Eddie Shore trade with the New York Americans in Jan. 1940, this time around– though there were likely tears shed over the departure of a fan favorite in Chara and a legend in Bruins franchise history– it seems there will be a happy ending sooner rather than later.

Shore never played for an NHL team after 1940, was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947, and subsequently had his No. 2 retired by Boston as a result after some amendments to strained relationships with Art Ross and others had been made– if not put aside for an evening, at least.

Chara won’t have to wait quite as long and there are no hard feelings to get in the way.

Whenever he retires, jot down the very first home game (as it should be) at TD Garden in that upcoming season to see his No. 33 raised to the rafters and add three years to the date from his retirement for eligibility to be elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame alongside Shore, Bobby Orr and other legends of the sport.

Tuukka Rask (4-1, 1.81 goals-against average, .941 save percentage in five games) made 40 saves on 41 shots against in the win for the Bruins on Sunday.

Capitals netminder, Ilya Samsonov (0-3, 2.99 goals-against average, .899 save percentage in three games played) stopped 16 out of 19 shots faced in the loss.

Boston became the fifth team since the start of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs to win a best-of-seven series in four or more consecutive postseasons.

They joined the Capitals (4 postseasons from 2015-18), New York Rangers (4, 2012-15), Detroit Red Wings (5, 2007-11) and San Jose Sharks (4, 2004-08) in doing so.

Boston also improved to 13-10 all time in Game 5s when leading a series 3-1. The B’s are now 21-2 in best-of-seven series’ when they have a 3-1 series lead, as well.

The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Jeremy Lauzon (upper body), Kevan Miller (upper body) and John Moore (hip) on Sunday with Steven Kampfer (arm) joining Moore on the list of B’s that won’t return before next season.

As a result of Miller missing Game 5 due to an injury sustained on a high hit from Dmitry Orlov in Game 4, Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made one change to his lineup from Friday night’s, 4-1, win to Sunday evening– inserting Jarred Tinordi in Miller’s spot on the third defensive pairing.

Capitals head coach, Peter Laviolette, meanwhile replaced Michael Raffl with Daniel Sprong on his third line alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov at center and Tom Wilson at right wing.

Boston’s long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players for Game 5 included Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Moore, Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Lauzon, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman and Miller.

Just like in Game 4, there were no goals in the first period in Game 5 as the two teams traded penalties throughout the opening frame.

Both clubs were short a skater and played 4-on-4 for a pair of minutes when Garnet Hathaway and Taylor Hall received roughing minors at 5:09 of the first period.

The Capitals later had the first power play of the night when David Pastrnak tripped up Justin Schultz at 6:46.

Just as the Bruins got back to full strength, they went on the skater advantage as Wilson cross checked Jake DeBrusk and cut a rut to the penalty box at 8:47.

Late in the period, Brad Marchand roughed up John Carlson and was assessed a roughing infraction at 16:14, but Washington couldn’t convert on the resulting power play.

Nor could they prior to the end of the first period as Craig Smith tripped Alex Ovechkin at 19:31, though the skater advantage stretched into the middle frame.

After one period, the score remained tied, 0-0, while the Caps outshot the B’s, 10-9.

The Bruins held the advantage in blocked shots (5-2), hits (12-7) and faceoff win percentage (58-42), while the Capitals led in takeaways (3-1). Both teams had two giveaways each.

Washington was 0/3 on the power play, while Boston was 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the first intermission.

Mike Reilly sent a pass up to Pastrnak as No. 88 in black and gold proceeded to deke around Nic Dowd prior to cutting to the corner and pulling the NHL 94 wraparound the front of the slot move.

Pastrnak (1) slid the puck low around Samsonov’s left pad and gave Boston a, 1-0, lead at 2:28 of the second period.

Reilly (1) had the only assist on the goal and earned his first career Stanley Cup Playoff point in the process.

Less than a minute later, Sprong got a hold on Tinordi and was sent to the box as a result at 3:48.

The Bruins failed to convert on the ensuing power play, however.

Late in the period, Pastrnak took a hit at the attacking zone blue line to make a play to Reilly who, in turn, gave it to Bergeron as Bergeron (2) entered the zone and wired a snap shot from the high slot below Samsonov’s blocker and into the back of the twine.

Reilly (2) and Pastrnak (4) tallied the assists as the Bruins extended their lead to, 2-0, at 14:05 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action on Sunday night, Boston led on the scoreboard, 2-0, despite Washington holding the advantage in shots on goal, 30-13, including a, 20-4, advantage in the second period alone.

The Caps dominated in takeaways (7-2), giveaways (7-5), hits (24-19) and faceoff win% (52-48), while the B’s led in blocked shots (16-7).

Neither team had scored a goal on the power play through two periods as the Capitals were 0/3 and the Bruins were 0/2 on the skater advantage entering the second intermission.

Conor Sheary (1) scored on his own rebound off of a one-timed redirection 11 seconds into the third period to cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.

T.J. Oshie (3) and Orlov (3) had the helpers on the goal as the Capitals jumped out to a hot start in the final frame.

Midway through the third, however, the Bruins rushed up the ice, had it broken up, but promptly forced a turnover that led to Bergeron (3) snapping a quick shot from the slot over Samsonov’s shoulder on the blocker side to give Boston another two-goal lead.

Bergeron’s unassisted goal made it, 3-1, for the Bruins at 12:25 of the third period.

Shortly thereafter, Reilly cross checked Oshie and was sent to the box at 12:45.

Washington thought they had a power-play goal to pull themselves back to within one as Lars Eller banked a shot off Rask and in from the goal line, but Kuznetsov had pushed Rask seconds prior to the would-be goal.

Despite Tinordi clearing Kuznetsov from the crease seconds later, Kuznetsov initiated the initial contact with the B’s goaltender and therefore negated the goal on the grounds of goaltender interference without a minor penalty attached to the play.

Late in the third, Sprong tripped Charlie McAvoy and presented Boston with one more power play at 16:18, but the Bruins took the opportunity to run the clock and play “keep away” from the Caps.

With 1:13 remaining in the action, Laviolette pulled Samsonov for an extra attacker but it was of no use.

At the final horn, the Bruins had won, 3-1, and eliminated the Capitals in five games.

Washington finished Sunday night’s effort on home ice leading in shots on goal, 41-19, including an, 11-6, advantage in the third period alone.

The Caps also led in giveaways (9-5), hits (36-26) and faceoff win% (53-47), while Boston finished the action leading in blocked shots (19-14).

Neither team scored a power play goal in Game 5, as Washington went 0/4 and Boston went 0/3 on the skater advantage.

The Bruins won the series 4-1 and advance to the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs as a result where they will face the other MassMutual NHL East Division series winner between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders.

If Pittsburgh defeats New York in their series, the Penguins will have home ice in the Second Round. If the Islanders defeat the Penguins, the Bruins will have home ice in the Second Round.

In either case, as of May 29th, Boston will near or at full capacity at TD Garden in accordance with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 reopening policy.

Fans in attendance will still have to wear a mask when they aren’t eating or drinking inside the stadium in accordance with the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Bruins take commanding 3-1 series lead with Game 4 victory

The Boston Bruins are one win away from advancing to the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs after their, 4-1, win over the Washington Capitals at TD Garden Friday night in Game 4 of their First Round series.

David Pastrnak had the eventual game-winning goal as Tuukka Rask (3-1, 1.99 goals-against average, .930 save percentage in four games played) made 19 saves on 20 shots faced en route to a franchise record setting 54th career Stanley Cup Playoffs win– surpassing Gerry Cheevers’ previous mark of 53 postseason wins in a Bruins uniform.

Washington goaltender, Ilya Samsonov (0-2, 2.96 goals-against average, .913 save percentage in two games played), had 33 saves on 37 shots against in the loss.

Boston took a 3-1 series lead as a result of their victory on Friday night and improved to 17-17 overall in Game 4s when leading a series 2-1.

The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), John Moore (hip) and Jeremy Lauzon (upper body) in Game 4. Lauzon has missed the last three games, while Kase and Moore have missed the entire postseason with Moore out until next season.

Bruce Cassidy made no changes to Boston’s lineup as a result.

The B’s had a long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players that included Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Moore, Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Steven Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Lauzon, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman and Jarred Tinordi.

In the meantime, Lars Eller was back in the lineup for Washington after missing Game 3 with a lower body injury as Samsonov got his second consecutive postseason start.

One Bruin was half-stepping onto the bench, while another Bruin had just entered the action on a line change and landed a hit, but in the eyes of the on-ice officials, Boston had too many skaters on the ice.

The Bruins were assessed a bench minor for too many skaters 49 seconds into the first period and the Capitals went on the power play for the first time in the action.

Washington couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing skater advantage, however, while Nick Ritchie served Boston’s bench minor.

Moments later, Charlie Coyle tripped up Nick Jensen as the Caps defender worked his way to the net.

The Bruins went back on the penalty kill at 5:51 and proceeded to deny Washington’s power play of getting a stronghold in both possession and on the scoreboard.

Late in the period, the Capitals presented Boston with their first power play of the night as Mike Reilly worked to get out of his own zone and was tripped up by Michael Raffl at 19:23.

The Bruins’ skater advantage would extend into the middle frame as the B’s couldn’t muster anything on the power play– despite ringing the iron– as the horn sounded to signal the start of the first intermission.

After one period of play, the score remained tied, 0-0, while the Bruins led in shots on goal, 11-4.

Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (7-6) and takeaways (9-1), while both teams managed three giveaways each, 14 hits aside and were, 50-50, in faceoff win percentage after 20 minutes of action.

The Capitals were 0/2 and the Bruins were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

The B’s couldn’t take advantage of the remaining 1:24 that they had on the power play while Raffl was in the box to kickoff the second period.

Early in the middle period, however, Taylor Hall got a breakaway and nearly scored while Samsonov was left looking a bit unnerved by a lower body ailment.

Samsonov stayed in the game, however.

Minutes later, Dmitry Orlov hit Kevan Miller up high after leaving his feet, which sent the Bruins defender backwards, falling head first into the ice.

Orlov was originally assessed a major penalty, but it was reduced after review to a double minor for roughing, meanwhile Miller was helped off the ice in the third consecutive night of head injuries across the league.

The Bruins provided an update prior to the third period that Miller was taken to a local hospital for scans and further evaluation.

Coyle retaliated and picked up a roughing minor as Orlov was sent to the box with his four-minute double minor for roughing and the B’s had a power play at 7:27 of the second period.

It didn’t take Boston long to find the back of the net on the ensuing skater advantage as Pastrnak ripped a shot from the faceoff circle that Brad Marchand (3) deflected from point blank past Samsonov.

Pastrnak (3) and Charlie McAvoy (3) tallied the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal as the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead at 8:00 of the second period.

Garnet Hathaway cut a rut to the sin bin for roughing against Patrice Bergeron at 11:01, but the Bruins failed to record a shot on net on the resulting power play.

Moments later, Jake DeBrusk slashed Anthony Mantha and was sent to the box at 14:03, presenting the Caps with another power play as a result.

The Capitals failed to convert while DeBrusk was in the box, but got another chance at the skater advantage when Bergeron sent the puck over the glass and out of play for an automatic delay of game infraction at 17:43.

That too, however, went unconverted.

Instead, Mantha interfered with McAvoy at 19:45 and presented Boston with another power play that would extend into the final frame.

The Bruins led, 1-0, after two periods of play and had the advantage in shots on goal, 23-13, including a, 12-9, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston dominated in blocked shots (14-8) and takeaways (12-3), while Washington led in giveaways (6-5), hits (25-21) and faceoff win% (54-46) heading into the second intermission.

The Caps were 0/4 and the B’s were 1/4 on the power play heading into the final frame of regulation.

Pastrnak (1) sent a shot from the faceoff dot under Samsonov’s blocker into the back of the net to give Boston a, 2-0, lead 29 seconds into the third period.

McAvoy (4) and David Krejci (2) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal as the Bruins turned up the intensity to begin the third.

DeBrusk sent a shot off of Samsonov’s shoulder and high over the bar as the puck bounced off the glass and caromed to the side of the net where DeBrusk hacked at his own rebound before Coyle (1) pounced on the puck in the low slot to give Boston a three-goal lead.

DeBrusk (1) had the only assist on Coyle’s goal as a result and the Bruins led, 3-0, at 1:03 of the third period.

Tom Wilson just couldn’t resist watching the B’s score, so he decided to go at it with Ritchie after Coyle’s goal.

As a scrum ensued instead of celebrating, Brandon Carlo mixed it up a bit with Wilson and the three of them– Wilson, Ritchie and Carlo– received minor infractions.

Wilson and Ritchie went to the box for roughing, while Carlo earned an unsportsmanlike conduct infraction (it’s always the one that retaliates) at 1:03 of the third period.

In turn, the Capitals failed to record a shot on goal on the ensuing power play.

Marchand cut a rut to the box for interference at 4:16 and Washington wasted little time scoring on the resulting advantage.

Alex Ovechkin (2) one-timed a shot from his usual spot while breaking his stick and inadvertently sending the puck off of Carlo’s blade– deflecting the rubber biscuit past Rask.

John Carlson (2) and Nicklas Backstrom (1) tallied the assists on Ovechkin’s power-play goal as the Capitals trailed, 3-1, at 4:54 of the third period.

Shortly thereafter, while trying to capitalize on the swing in momentum, Ovechkin checked Marchand along the wall.

Pastrnak took exception to the hit and was sure to flatten Ovechkin seconds later as the Caps sustained pressure in the offensive zone, then Marchand hit Ovechkin in the open ice while the Capitals captain was still getting up from being knocked down by Pastrnak.

The Bruins nearly scored about a minute later as Curtis Lazar fed Pastrnak on a 2-on-1 that nearly resulted in a goal if it weren’t for Samsonov’s sprawling save.

Minutes later, Mantha went hard into the crease and beyond, yielding a minor infraction for goaltender interference at 13:31.

Boston capitalized on the resulting power play as Matt Grzelcyk (1) blasted a one-timer from the faceoff dot over Samsonov’s glove on the short side to give the Bruins a, 4-1, lead.

McAvoy (5) earned his third assist of the night, while Hall (1) picked up the secondary assist on Grzelcyk’s power-play goal at 14:50 of the third period.

Late in the period, Coyle sent the puck over the glass at the bench, except the only trouble was that his stick was below the top of the boards so it really shouldn’t have been a penalty, but nevertheless…

Boston killed off Coyle’s minor for delay of game at 16:22 as Washington struggled to keep the puck in the attacking zone.

Caps head coach, Peter Laviolette, pulled Samsonov for an extra attacker to make the 5-on-4 a 6-on-4 advantage, but it was to no avail as the Bruins killed Coyle’s infraction and resumed play in a de facto shorthanded 6-on-5 situation.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 4-1, in Game 4 and taken a 3-1 series lead.

The Bruins finished the night leading in shots on goal, 37-20, including a, 14-7, advantage in the third period alone.

Washington wrapped up Friday night’s action leading in giveaways (9-6) and hits (38-34), while Boston led in blocked shots (17-11) and faceoff win% (56-44).

The Capitals went 1/7 on the power play, while the B’s were 3/5 on the skater advantage in Game 4.

Boston improved to 3-1 when tied after the first period, 2-0 when scoring the game’s first goal and 1-0 when leading after two periods this postseason, while Washington fell to 1-3 when tied after one, 0-2 when allowing the game’s first goal and 0-1 when trailing after the second period in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Bruins now lead the series 3-1 as the teams head back to Washington, D.C. for Game 5 Sunday night at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is expected a little after 7 p.m. ET and fans in the United States can tune to USA Network for national coverage of the game, while those in Canada can choose between SN1 or TVAS2.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Smith lifts Bruins over Capitals, 3-2, in double OT

Craig Smith caught Ilya Samsonov mishandling the puck and wrapped around the net to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 series lead in their, 3-2, double overtime victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of their 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup on Wednesday at TD Garden.

Tuukka Rask (2-1, 2.27 goals-against average, .926 save percentage in three games played) made 35 saves on 37 shots faced in what became the 12th consecutive postseason game between the two clubs to be decided by one-goal.

Oh and the Bruins had not led all night until the final result.

Samsonov (0-1, 2.09 goals-against average, .930 save percentage in one game played), meanwhile, turned aside 40 out of 43 shots against in the loss for the Capitals.

Boston was without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), John Moore (hip) and Jeremy Lauzon (upper body) on Wednesday.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Monday night’s, 4-3, overtime win in Game 2 to Wednesday night’s Game 3.

The B’s had a long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players including, Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Moore, Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Steven Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Lauzon, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman and Jarred Tinordi on Wednesday.

At the other end of the rink, Evgeny Kuznetsov returned to the lineup for Washington, while Samsonov made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in the crease.

Craig Anderson did not get the start in Game 3 due to “body maintenance” according to Capitals head coach, Peter Laviolette, while Lars Eller (lower body) missed Wednesday night’s action.

The Caps became the second team in Stanley Cup Playoff history to start three different goaltenders in the team’s first three postseason games, joining the 1986 Winnipeg Jets in doing so.

Alex Ovechkin was penalized for interference at 2:20 of the first period and presented Boston with the first power play of the night.

The B’s did not capitalize on the ensuing skater advantage, however, and followed suit with a pair of penalties of their one– Mike Reilly for high sticking at 7:38, as well as a bench minor for too many skaters on the ice at 10:34– shortly after killing off Reilly’s infraction.

Nick Ritchie served the bench minor as the Capitals failed to muster anything on back-to-back power plays.

Washington defender, Zdeno Chara, caught former teammate in Boston, Charlie Coyle, with a slash while the two battled for a puck in the corner of the Bruins’ attacking zone, yielding a power play for the B’s at 13:18.

Boston’s skater advantage soon became a 5-on-3 advantage as John Carlson sent the puck clear over the glass and induced an automatic delay of game minor at 14:24.

The Bruins weren’t able to convert on the two-skater advantage.

Finally, late in the opening frame, Sean Kuraly tripped Ovechkin and the Bruins were forced to kill off a minor infraction at 17:25.

Heading into the first intermission, the score was still tied, 0-0, despite Boston outshooting Washington, 10-4.

The Capitals dominated in just about everything else, leading in blocked shots (6-3), takeaways (4-2), giveaways (5-4) and hits (13-12), while both teams managed to split faceoff win percentage in the first period, 50-50.

Both clubs were 0/3 on the power play entering the middle frame.

Early in the second period, Nic Dowd blocked a shot from David Pastrnak and briefly went down the tunnel after hardly putting any weight on one of his legs.

Dowd would return later in the period and, of course, score a goal, but first Brad Marchand took an unsportsmanlike minor at 6:56 of the second period, presenting the Capitals with another skater advantage opportunity.

Late in the ensuing power play, Washington worked the puck deep into the attacking zone while Ovechkin (1) snuck into the slot, received a pass and fired a one-timer far on the glove side and just under the crossbar.

Anthony Mantha (2) had the only assist on Ovechkin’s power-play goal at 8:21 of the second period and Washington jumped ahead, 1-0, in Game 3.

Less than a minute later, however, the Bruins responded as Smith setup Taylor Hall with a behind the back pass to No. 71 in black and gold as Hall (2) spun around counterclockwise in front of the crease, pulled the puck from his backhand to his forehand and roofed a shout over the blocker, top-shelf.

Smith (2) and Kevan Miller (1) tallied the assists as Hall tied the game, 1-1, at 9:17.

Late in the period, Matt Grzelcyk caught Ovechkin with a high stick behind the Boston net and presented Washington with another power play at 15:45.

Shortly after killing Grzelcyk’s minor, the Bruins were caught in the vulnerable minute on a giveaway while botching an exit out of their own zone.

Garnet Hathaway fed Dowd with a shot pass under Reilly’s leg while the Bruins defender dove to breakup the passing lane that Dowd (2) redirected while crashing the slot to put the Capitals back in command, 2-1, at 18:15 of the second period.

Hathaway (1) had the only assist on the effort.

Through 40 minutes of action on Wednesday, the Caps led the B’s, 2-1, on the scoreboard despite Boston outshooting Washington, 21-20, in total shots on goal.

The Capitals, however, outshot the Bruins, 16-11, in the second period alone and led in blocked shots (9-6), takeaways (7-6) and hits (32-28), while Boston held the advantage in giveaways (8-7).

Washington was 1/5 on the power play, while the B’s were still 0/3 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.

Daniel Carr tripped Coyle at 3:25 of the third period, but the Bruins couldn’t get anything going on the resulting power play.

Boston had another chance on the skater advantage when Dowd caught Charlie McAvoy with a high stick at 11:00 of the final frame of regulation and this time the B’s capitalized on the power play.

Marchand (2) batted the puck out of mid-air off of a deflection from Patrice Bergeron that can best be described as a flubbed shot and/or a whiff.

Anyway, Bergeron (1) and McAvoy (2) had the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal as the Bruins tied the action, 2-2, despite lacking a sustained offensive effort in the third period.

Through 60 minutes, the score remained even, 2-2, despite Washington outshooting Boston, 29-24, including a, 9-3, advantage in the third period alone.

The Capitals led in blocked shots (15-9), takeaways (12-8), hits (46-42) and faceoff win% (53-47), while the B’s led in giveaways (11-8).

Both teams were 1/5 on the power play heading into the first overtime period.

The refs had put their whistles away in the initial extra frame, yielding end-to-end action with more clutching and grabbing allowed as the two clubs swapped chances– though the Bruins dominated possession and shots on goal in the overtime alone.

Laviolette started Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson, Mantha, Dmitry Orlov and Carlson, while Cassidy countered with David Krejci, Smith, Hall, Reilly and Brandon Carlo at the opening draw in the extra frame.

After 80 minutes of high intensity skating, the Bruins and Capitals were still tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard, despite Boston holding the advantage in shots on goal, 41-34, including a, 17-5, advantage in the first overtime period alone.

Washington led in blocked shots (19-12), takeaways (15-11) and faceoff win% (52-48) through four peirods, while the B’s led in giveaways (12-9) and hits (58-55).

Both teams were still 1/5 on the power play heading into the second overtime period.

At the dawn of double overtime, Laviolette and Cassidy started the same lines that they had thrown out on the ice to kickoff the first overtime.

Backstrom, Wilson and Mantha were countered by Krejci, Hall and Smith.

On defense, Laviolette offered Brenden Dillon and Justin Schultz, while Cassidy tossed out Reilly and Carlo once more.

Marchand nearly ended it, then Pastrnak had a breakaway, but misfired as he took a stick to the midsection, then crashed into the endboards and was slow to get up.

He did not miss a shift, though, and no penalty was called.

Moments later, Samsonov misplayed the puck in the trapezoid assuming one of his defenders might scoop it up right as Smith never gave up on the play, however.

Smith (1) wrapped the rubber biscuit around the net and slid it behind the Caps netminder for the game-winning goal at 5:48 of the second overtime period.

The individual effort was unassisted and provided Boston with a 2-1 series lead thanks to their, 3-2, double overtime victory in Game 3 on Wednesday.

Yes, even after reaching double overtime, the game still managed to end before midnight thanks to a 6:30 p.m. ET start.

The Bruins finished the night leading in shots on goal, 43-37, despite being outshot, 3-2, in the second overtime itself.

Washington wrapped up the action leading in blocked shots (20-14) and faceoff win% (52-48), while Boston led in giveaways (12-10) and hits (60-57).

The two each clubs finished 1/5 on the power play.

The Bruins improved to 2-1 when tied after the first period, 1-1 when allowing the game’s first goal, 1-0 when trailing after two periods, 2-1 when tied after three periods and 1-0 when tied after the first overtime in this postseason.

The Capitals, meanwhile, dropped to 1-2 when tied after one, 1-1 when scoring the game’s first goal, 0-1 when leading after two, 1-2 when tied after three and 0-1 when tied after the first overtime in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Boston leads the series 2-1 with the chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in Game 4 on Friday night on home ice.

Puck drop at TD Garden is expected a little after 6:30 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN for national coverage, while those in Canada have the option to choose from SN360, SNE, SNO, SNP or TVAS depending on where you live.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Caps snag, 3-2, overtime win in Game 1 over Bruins

Nic Dowd redirected T.J. Oshie’s blast early in overtime to give Craig Anderson a, 3-2, win in relief and the Washington Capitals a 1-0 series lead over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night at Capital One Arena in Game 1 of their 2021 First Round series.

Anderson (1-0, 1.15 goals-against average, .955 save percentage in one game played) made 21 saves on 22 shots faced in the overtime win after replacing injured Capitals goaltender, Vitek Vanecek, in the first period.

He’ll turn 40-years-old on May 21st and became the oldest goaltender to earn a Stanley Cup Playoffs win in Capitals history (39 years, 359 days old), surpassing Mike Liut’s previous record (34 years, 110 days).

Vanecek (0-0, 4.62 goals-against average, .750 save percentage in one game played) had three saves on four shots his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut prior to suffering a lower body injury at 13:10 of the first period and leaving the game.

Boston netminder, Tuukka Rask (0-1, 2.78 goals-against average, .906 save percentage in one game played), stopped 29 out of 32 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins and Capitals are meeting for the fourth time in a postseason series. Washington holds the all time series advantage, 2-1, having beaten Boston in six games in the 1998 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal and most recently in seven games in the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.

The B’s swept the Caps in the 1990 Wales Conference Final.

Boston made the playoffs for the 74th time in franchise history, while finishing 3rd in the MassMutual NHL East Division.

Meanwhile, Washington entered the postseason for the 31st time in club history and has home ice advantage in the series by virtue of finishing 2nd in the same division.

The Bruins were without Ondrej Kase (upper body) and John Moore (hip) in Game 1.

Kase is not yet ready to return to the lineup, while Moore is out for the rest of the season and playoffs after undergoing a hip arthroscopy and labral repair on March 22nd. Moore’s expected recovery time is five to six months.

Charlie Coyle, meanwhile, was back in the lineup after missing the last four games of the regular season with an upper body injury.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, didn’t do much out of the ordinary with his lines as captain, Patrice Bergeron, centered the first line with his usual partners in crime, Brad Marchand at left wing and David Pastrnak at right wing.

David Krejci centered the second line with Taylor Hall to his left and Craig Smith to his right, while Sean Kuraly centered the third line with Nick Ritchie and Coyle on his wings.

Rounding out the bottom-six forwards, Jake DeBrusk and Chris Wagner were slotted alongside Curtis Lazar.

Bergeron tied Zdeno Chara for the second-most appearances in a playoff game in a Bruins uniform– having participated in his 150th career Stanley Cup Playoff game on Saturday night.

Krejci, meanwhile, surpassed Wayne Cashman for sole possession of the fourth-most playoff games in the spoked-B, skating in his 146th career postseason game on Saturday.

On defense, Cassidy started the night with Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing, Mike Reilly suited up with Brandon Carlo and Jeremy Lauzon alongside Kevan Miller.

Reilly made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in the process.

Boston’s long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and/or injured players included Trent Frederic, Kase, Steven Kampfer, Jack Ahcan, Jakub Zboril, Connor Clifton, Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman, Jarred Tinordi, Jaroslav Halak, Callum Booth and Dan Vladar.

Washington, meanwhile, was without Evgeny Kuznetsov, who remained in COVID protocol ahead of Game 1.

Tom Wilson (1) scored the game’s first goal and opened the scoring in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs on a give-and-go play that led to a far side shot over Rask and into the twine to make it, 1-0.

Oshie (1) and Daniel Sprong (1) had the assists on Wilson’s goal at 6:22 of the first period as the Capitals capitalized on a shattered stick by McAvoy in Boston’s attacking zone that led to the breakout and ensuing goal.

Almost 90 seconds later, John Carlson sent the puck over the glass and yielded an automatic delay of game minor infraction at 7:58, presenting the Bruins with the night’s first power play as a result.

Boston was powerless on the skater advantage, however.

Moments later, DeBrusk (1) scored from the edge of the faceoff dot to the left of Vanecek after an attacking zone draw was won by Lazar back to the B’s winger for a quick shot to tie the game, 1-1, at 13:10.

Lazar (1) had the only assist while Vanecek sustained a lower body injury on the play and promptly left the game with the assistance of a Capitals trainer.

Anderson replaced Vanecek in his first playoff appearance since 2017, when the Ottawa Senators lost, 4-2, in double overtime to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Final.

The Bruins did not put Anderson to the test nearly enough for the remainder of the action.

Justin Schultz tripped Hall at 16:42 and presented Boston with another power play before the first period came to a close, but the B’s weren’t able to muster anything on the advantage and entered the first intermission tied on the scoreboard, 1-1.

Washington led in shots on goal, 11-7, after 20 minutes and held the advantage in takeaways (2-1) and hits (19-13), while Boston led in blocked shots (5-2), giveaways (2-1) and faceoff win percentage (81-19).

The Bruins were 0/2 on the power play while the Capitals had yet to see any action on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.

Entering the second period Washington tweeted that Vanecek would not return to the night’s action with a lower body injury. If necessary, Pheonix Copley would be available as the emergency goaltender for the Caps.

Midway through the middle frame, Brenden Dillon (1) blasted a shot from the point that deflected off of Lauzon’s stick and into the back of the twine– giving the Capitals a, 2-1, lead at 8:44 of the second period in the process.

Anthony Mantha (1) and Alex Ovechkin (1) tallied the assists on Dillon’s goal.

Ovechkin later cross checked Miller, but Lauzon retaliated with a cross check on Ovechkin and was the only player that was penalized at 9:01 of the second period.

Washington did not convert on the ensuing power play.

Late in the period, Dmitry Orlov caught Marchand with a high stick at 15:21.

Boston capitalized on the resulting skater advantage when Pastrnak wired a shot off of Ritchie’s (1) shaft in front of the net– deflecting the puck through Anderson and just over the goal line.

Pastrnak (1) and McAvoy (1) had the assists on Ritchie’s power-play goal, tying the game, 2-2, in the process at 16:40.

Through 40 minutes of play, the score was tied, 2-2, despite the Capitals leading in shots on goal, 22-16, including an, 11-9, advantage in the second period alone.

The Bruins led in blocked shots (16-8) and faceoff win% (62-38), while the Caps led in giveaways (4-3) and hits (31-30).

Both teams had four takeaways aside, while Washington was 0/1 and Boston was 1/3 on the power play entering the second intermission.

There were no goals in the final frame of regulation and only one penalty as Michael Raffl tripped Hall with a knee-on-knee swipe (inadvertent or not, it was a penalty) at 5:06 of the third period.

After 60 minutes, the Capitals led in shots on goal, 31-24, including a, 9-8, advantage in the third period alone.

Washington held the advantage in hits (51-40), while Boston led in blocked shots (18-12), giveaways (7-6) and faceoff win% (59-41). Both teams had six takeaways aside.

As there were no penalties called in overtime, the Capitals finished 0/1 and the Bruins finished 1/4 on the power play.

Early in the extra frame, Washington got a break whereby Oshie let go of a one-timer that Dowd (1) deflected off of Rask and in for the game-winning goal at 4:41 of the overtime period.

Oshie (2) and Wilson (1) had the assists on Dowd’s goal as the Capitals secured a, 3-2, victory in overtime in Game 1.

Washington finished Saturday night’s action leading in shots on goal, 32-26, despite Boston outshooting the Capitals, 2-1, in overtime alone.

The Caps also wrapped up Game 1 with the advantage in hits (51-41), while the Bruins finished the game leading in blocked shots (19-16), giveaways (7-6) and faceoff win% (60-40).

The Bruins fell to 0-1 when tied after the first period, 0-1 when allowing the game’s first goal and 0-1 when tied after the second period this postseason, while the Capitals improved to 1-0 when tied after the first, scoring the game’s first goal and tied after two periods in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Washington leads the series 1-0 and looks to go up by two games on Monday night in Game 2. Puck drop in Washington is set for a little after 7:30 p.m. ET. Fans in the United States can tune to NBCSN for national coverage, while viewers in Canada have the option to choose from SN, CBC or TVAS.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Raffl sinks Bruins in dying seconds, Caps win, 2-1

Michael Raffl scored the game-winning goal off the back of Jeremy Swayman with about three seconds left on the game clock to give the Washington Capitals a, 2-1, victory over the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena in both teams’ last game of the regular season.

Vitek Vanecek (21-10-4, 2.70 goals-against average, .908 save percentage in 37 games played) made 24 saves on 25 shots against in the win for Washington.

Swayman (7-3-0, 1.50 goals-against average, .945 save percentage in 10 games played), stopped 30 out of 32 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins finished the 2020-21 regular season 33-16-7 (73 points) overall and in 3rd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Capitals went 36-15-5 (77 points) this season and finished in 2nd place in the same division.

The two clubs will face each other in the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Boston also dropped to 15-9-4 on the road and 4-2-2 against Washington in 2020-21.

The Bruins were without Ondrej Kase (upper body), John Moore (hip) and Charlie Coyle (upper body) due to injury on Tuesday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy elected to rest Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Taylor Hall, David Krejci, Craig Smith, Sean Kuraly, Charlie Coyle, Matt Grzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy, Mike Reilly, Brandon Carlo, Jeremy Lauzon, Kevan Miller, Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask for the final game of the regular season.

Boston returns home after their evening in Washington, D.C. for a day off on Wednesday.

The B’s return to practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Thursday and Friday ahead of Game 1 back in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night.

By sitting most of his regular lineup, Cassidy jumbled his forwards and defenders on Tuesday night with Curtis Lazar centering the first line– flanked by Jake DeBrusk and Chris Wagner on his wings.

Greg McKegg centered the second line with Nick Ritchie and Zach Senyshyn on the wings. Ritchie and Wagner each wore an “A” with Steven Kampfer wearing the third “A”, designated as alternate captains while Bruins captain, Bergeron, and regular alternates, Krejci and Marchand were withheld from Tuesday night’s action.

Jack Studnicka centered the third line with Trent Frederic at left wing and Oskar Steen at right wing, while Cameron Hughes, Anton Blidh and Karson Kuhlman rounded out the bottom-six forwards.

On defense, Jakub Zboril was paired with Connor Clifton on the first pairint, while Jarred Tinordi and Kampfer, as well as Jack Ahcan and Urho Vaakanainen rounded out the rest of the blue line.

Dan Vladar served as Swayman’s backup with Rask and Halak given the night off.

Boston’s long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players included Reilly, Smith, Coyle, Carlo, Moore, Kase, Bergeron, Rask, Halak, Krejci, Grzelcyk, Kuraly, Lauzon, Marchand, Callum Booth, Hall, McAvoy, Miller and Pastrnak.

Washington was without some big names in T.J. Oshie (lower body), John Carlson (lower body), Evgeny Kuznetsov (COVID protocol) and Ilya Samsonov (COVID protocol) on Tuesday.

At puck drop, Ritchie became the only Bruin to play in all 56 games this season.

Meanwhile, midway through the opening frame, Clifton caught Carl Hagelin with a slash and promptly presented the Capitals with the first power play of the night at 7:15 of the first period.

Washington’s power play was cut short, however, when Anthony Mantha tripped Kampfer at 8:44, yielding 31 seconds of 4-on-4 action before the Bruins had an abbreviated power play.

Boston’s special teams couldn’t muster anything on their brief skater advantage.

Heading into the first intermission, the game was still tied, 0-0, despite Washington leading in shots on goal, 9-6.

The Bruins led in blocked shots (9-2), takeaways (4-2), giveaways (2-1) and hits (16-13), while the Capitals held the advantage in faceoff win percentage (55-46).

Both the Caps and the B’s were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

DeBrusk worked the puck up to Tinordi as the Bruins defender pinched into the attacking zone on a rush before sending a pass to Lazar (7) in the slot for a tap-in while Vanecek was out of position– giving Boston a, 1-0, lead in the process.

Tinordi (1) and DeBrusk (9) tallied the assists on Lazar’s goal at 10:11 of the second period.

The B’s did not hold the lead for long, however, as Hagelin (6) pocketed a rebound while Swayman was sprawling in effort to clear the crease.

Garnet Hathaway (12) and Zdeno Chara (8) had the assists on Hagelin’s goal as the Caps tied the game, 1-1, at 16:15 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of play, the Bruins and Capitals were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard despite Washington holding a, 26-14, advantage in shots on goal, including a, 17-8, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston dominated in blocked shots (16-4) and hits (22-20), while the Caps led in takeaways (7-4) and faceoff win% (52-48).

Both teams had three giveaways each and remained 0/1 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Prior to the start of the third period, the Bruins tweeted that Zboril would not return to the night’s action with an upper body injury.

Less than two minutes into the final frame, Frederic and Tom Wilson exchanged pleasantries leading to ten-minute misconducts for each player– a fair tradeoff for Boston to give up a bottom-six winger for Washington’s infamous forward at 1:49 of the third period.

As each penalty was a misconduct, there was no change in strength as both teams remained at 5-on-5 for the rest of the night.

No more penalties were called and no goals were scored until the dying seconds when Raffl (4) riffled a shot from behind the goal line off of Swayman’s back– bouncing just under the crossbar and back out from the twine.

Justin Schultz (24) had the only assist on Raffl’s game-winning goal at 19:57 of the third period as the Capitals secured the, 2-1, victory at the final horn.

Washington wrapped up the night’s action with the advantage in the final shot total, 32-25, despite being outshot by Boston, 11-5, in the third period alone.

The Bruins finished the night leading in blocked shots (21-10), while the Capitals led in giveaways (9-4), hits (39-33) and faceoff win% (62-38).

Both teams finished 0/1 on the night on the skater advantage.

After the game, Cassidy informed reporters that Swayman would serve as Rask’s backup in the postseason and indicated that Coyle would likely be cleared for a return to the lineup for Game 1.

Meanwhile, Kase’s status remains uncertain for Saturday night, at least.

Boston finished the 2020-21 regular season 8-8-2 (5-4-0 on the road) when tied after the first period, 25-6-3 (12-6-1 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal and 6-8-3 (5-6-2 on the road) when tied after two periods.

Washington, on the other hand, wrapped up their 2020-21 regular season efforts 16-3-1 (7-2-1 at home) when tied after one period, 11-10-2 (7-6-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal and 8-2-5 (4-1-3 at home) when tied after the second period.

The Bruins finished their 2020-21 regular season on Tuesday and will return to Boston for a day off on Wednesday before practicing on Thursday and Friday ahead of Saturday’s Game 1 matchup with the Capitals in Washington, D.C.

Washington has home-ice advantage in their First Round series with Boston in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since their 1998 matchup with the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal that year. 

This will be the fourth time that the two clubs go head-to-head in the playoffs with the Capitals holding an all-time 2-1 series advantage. 

The Caps defeated the B’s most recently in seven games in the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal as well as in six games in the 1998 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal, while the Bruins swept Washington in the 1990 Wales Conference Final.