By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge
Following tonight’s 4-3 overtime winner from Brad Marchand, the Boston Bruins are heading back to TD Garden all tied at one apiece with the Washington Capitals. After the rollercoaster first two games, there are many things to think about in terms of the Bruins play in the first two games. Let’s start with the positives.
A once all season-long problem, the bottom-six has produced in the first two games of the series. Jake DeBrusk looks like a completely new player, scoring in both games. Nick Ritchie potted one in Game 1 to add to the production. If the bottom six can keep producing at this rate and the top-six does their jobs, the Bruins should be in excellent shape.
A topic that is always a hot one in Boston media, Tuukka Rask. Rask has been all you can ask of in the first two games. Every Capitals goal in this series, minus Hathaway’s third period 2 on 1 tally, has been deflected. Even the shot from Orlov in Game 2, he was screened, and the defensemen did not pick up their guys in front. Rask has been playing great and has made many game-saving saves in the first two games. He is not the issue.
Absent in game one, the top-six forwards bounced back with a complete effort in Game 2. The concerning part of this is how invisible they were in Game 1. They were refusing to put pucks on net and get to the dirty areas. In Game 2, they were much better, firing everything on net and going to the blue paint. Marchand was a completely different player in Game 2, back to his normal agitating self.
We knew the Bruins were going to be outmatched physically in this series due to how the Capitals’ team is built, but it has become a larger issue than that in Game one and the first half of Game two. The Capitals had their way with the Bruins in Game one and first period in Game two. The Bruins were losing almost every puck battle and were just outmatched. In the second period of Game Two, the Bruins looked like they had some more fight,s and in the third period tying the game and eventually winning in overtime.
The Capitals power play is LETHAL. For starters, you have the greatest goal scorer of all time sitting in his office waiting to unload one-timers. To go with that, you have one of the best passers in Niklas Backstrom on the other half-wall. Then you add one of the game’s best offensive defensemen in John Carlson. As if that wasn’t deadly enough, Bruins-killer TJ Oshie sits right in the bumper position. Oh, and Evgeny Kuznetsov hasn’t played yet and will be added to that top unit. The moral of the story is the Bruins NEED to stay out of the penalty box.
The Bruins are in good shape after splitting the first two games on the road. If the Bruins take care of home-ice, they will be in even better shape. If you are one of the fortunate ones to have tickets to Games 3 or 4, make some noise and get rowdy. Let’s Go, Bruins!