By: Nick Parker | Follow me on Twitter @NickParker15
With the Bruins Stanley Cup Playoffs already underway in Washington and down in the first-round series 1-0 to the Capitals, I thought I would go through the eight games they faced each other during the 2021 regular season, as well as my personal take and prediction for the series.
January 30th @WSH 3-4 OT L
In the first matchup between the two teams, Bruins fans were encouraged by the return of David Pastrnak but disappointed by the loss only 34 seconds into overtime with Alex Ovechkin getting through the blue line and firing a shot past Tuukka Rask. Before the eventual overtime goal, Boston had climbed back after being down by three goals to send it to OT. Boston had goals from Nick Ritchie, Brad Marchand, and Charlie McAvoy.
February 1st @WSH 5-3 W
Two days later, Boston found themselves down again by three goals to the Capitals by the halfway point of the contest. Then David Pastrnak found his scoring touch, and the Bruins climbed their way back to a 5-3 victory. At this point, Boston had become notorious for coming back from deficits and showing that even if they went down, they had a chance to come back in each game. Goals for Boston were from David Pastrnak (2), Craig Smith, Brandon Carlo, and Brad Marchand.
March 3rd Home 1-2 SO L
Just over a month later, Boston faced Washington in a tightly contested game that didn’t see any scoring until the start of the third period, with David Pastrnak collecting his 10th goal of the season. Five minutes later, Lars Eller would tie the game, which would go through overtime and to the shootout. Washington would get a goal from Jakub Vrana, and all three Boston attempts were stopped. Boston goal scored by David Pastrnak.
March 5th Home 5-1 W
Boy, this game was something. During the first period, Tom Wilson hit Brandon Carlo high, causing Brandon to leave the game and then miss most of March and April. The Bruins were not happy with no call on the ice for a penalty and decided to take matters into their own hands. Jarod Tinordi fought Wilson and Boston took care of business by making the Capitals pay with pucks in the back of their net. Goals for Boston came from Brad Marchand (2), Trent Frederic, Patrice Bergeron, and Nick Ritchie.
April 8th @WSH 4-2 W
In Jeremy Swayman’s second start of the season, he was tasked with taking on Ovechkin and the Capitals and held them to two goals against. Brad Marchand scored his 19th goal of the season short-handed on a two-on-one with Patrice Bergeron. After being up three-nothing, Washington got goals from Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie after getting into penalty troubles halfway into the second, scoring 19 seconds apart. Craig Smith got back the two-goal lead and eventual final tally of the game with 4:05 left in the game, and Jeremy Swayman finished the night with 31 saves for a .939 save percentage. Boston goals came from Jeremy Lauzon, Anton Blidh, Brad Marchand, and Craig Smith.
April 11th Home 1-8 L
This game was Boston’s worst loss of the season since losing to the New York Islanders 7-2 on February 13th. Dan Vladar was hung out to dry, giving up all eight Washington goals. Luckily the loss was early in the day on the eve of the trade deadline. Though fans were thoroughly disappointed with the effort in the loss, they had much to be excited for with Bruins GM Don Sweeney adding Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar, and Mike Reilly that evening, setting the Bruins on a six-game win streak following this game. Boston goal scored by Craig Smith.
April 18th Home 6-3 W
Boston wanted to show their fans that the next meeting with the Capitals would be much different than the less than stellar effort on the 11th. This game featured two goals each for Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci. Marchand would finish with four points collecting two assists, and Tuukka Rask would stop 18 shots. After Washington went up 3-2 after consecutive power-play goals in the second, Boston’s veterans took control, scoring the next four. Boston goals Brad Marchand (2), Patrice Bergeron (2), and David Krejci (2).
May 11th @WSH 1-2 L
In the final game of the regular season, the Boston Bruins decided to send out virtually all of their AHL squad to play the Capitals in a game that had no bearing on the final standings for both teams. Boston sat almost all of their top players while Washington only sat two regulars. The game almost went to overtime had it not been for Michael Raffl taking a no-angle shot on Jeremy Swayman that went off the back of his helmet and in with three seconds to go. Boston goal scored by Curtis Lazar.
With Boston taking the third seed, Washington will control home ice through the series. The teams split the season series 4-4. This matchup will be close, and Washington likes to throw their weight around. But the Bruins trade deadline moves should prove that their depth through the roster is much better, and with Tuukka Rask ready for the playoff run, I feel the Bruins could win in 5.