|Postseason Record||Goaltender||GAA / SV%|
|Washington Capitals||1-0-0||Craig Anderson||1.18 / .955|
|Boston Bruins||0-0-1||Tuukka Rask||2.81 / .907|
On Monday night, the Washington Capitals will look to take a two-game advantage in Round One of the Playoffs on home ice. On Saturday night, in the very first game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and with approximately 5000 fans in the stands, a 15% increase in capacity from one week ago, the Washington Capitals took Game One versus the Boston Bruins with a sneaky shot from TJ Oshie, deflected off the stick of Nic Dowd to win 3-2 in overtime.
In a game defined almost exclusively by shoddy officiating, some bad luck, icings and offsides calls, there wasn’t much good to say about it except that Washington won. Three Caps made their postseason debut, including Daniel Sprong, Anthony Mantha, and Vitek Vanecek, who got the start in net for Washington. Vanecek appeared strong and sound in-net early on but wasn’t tested too much as Washington controlled play for the first half of the opening frame. Unlucky for Charlie McAvoy, a broken stick led to a prime scoring opportunity for the Caps, and just six minutes and 22 seconds into the opening period, Tom Wilson scored the first goal of the playoffs giving Washington a 1-0 lead. Capital One Arena erupted in cheers, hugging, and high-fives, something so many of us have missed from the joy of hockey playoffs. Hard to imagine that the most hated player in the NHL would score the opening goal of the game, and the playoffs.
Just about seven minutes after Wilson’s opening goal, Jake DeBrusk, who had just six goals in 42 games played, scored to tie the game, 1-1.
Vitek Vanecek in attempting to make a save on Jake DeBrusk’s goal, appeared to have strained a muscle and left the game with a lower-body injury. Moments later, TJ Oshie who was considered a game-time decision also made a trip, albeit a quick one, down the Caps’ tunnel. Sportsnet’s Kelly Hrudy blamed Vanecek for the injury he sustained, noting that he should have warmed up more and stretched better *rolls eyes*. So, after playing just three games and spending most of the season on the taxi squad, Craig Anderson came in as relief. The just-short-of-40-year-old goaltender just about stole the game, allowing just one goal on 22 shots. Anderson became the oldest goaltender in Capitals history to tally a win.
Eight minutes and 44 seconds into the second period, it had appeared that Alex Ovechkin scored the tie-breaking goal to give Washington a 2-1 lead, but later credit was given to Brenden Dillon. It was his first career playoff goal, and just his 3rd since the start of the regular season.
Washington’s first and only power play came at the 9:01 mark of the middle frame. Jeremy Lauzon went off for cross-checking after he and a fellow Bruin rammed Alex Oveckin into the boards. Unfortunately, not long after, the officials called an icing (that wasn’t really icing), leading to a defensive zone draw (that never should have happened), which ended with Orlov taking a penalty for high-sticking. And thanks to that icing-that-wasn’t, on their 3rd power play of the evening and with Dmitry Orlov in the box, Nick Ritchie *barely* scored to once again tie the game at two apiece.
The entire third period was goal-less, but definitely without its share of ‘excitement’. The repeated chants of “Lets Go Caps!” and “Ref You Suck!” echoed through the arena and concourses, and sources say both could be heard on the TV from at home. The Caps were forced to kill off a fourth Bruins power play, and did so successfully, but without any additional calls in their favor. Boston went 1-for-4 with the man-advantage. Earlier on in the game, both TJ Oshie and Garnet Hathaway had their helmets quite literally ripped off their heads with no penalty called.
A total of 92 hits were registered through 64:41 of play, underscoring the sheer physicality we expected to see between these two teams. Justin Schultz ended the night with a team-best +2, and Anthony Mantha, a +13 corsi for. TJ Oshie put up two assists and Wilson also finished the night with two points (1G, 1A). Boston’s Patrice Bergeron won 14 of his Bruins’ 39 successful faceoff battles, but was otherwise held off the score-sheet.
In the playoffs, overtime periods are 20 minutes and as many extra sessions as needed are played until someone scores. There are no shootouts, there are no ties. Last year, in the opening game of the playoffs, the Columbus Blue Jackets and eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning played 60 minutes, plus FIVE overtime periods (a total of 160 minutes of play, plus intermissions; over six hours) to mark one of the longest games in NHL history.
Less than five minutes into the first overtime session, Nic Dowd deflected a shot from TJ Oshie that would sneak through the pads of Tuukka Rask to seal a Game One victory.
Seemingly refusing to admit defeat after the officials tried so desperately to hand the win to Boston, the entire Bruins bench and skaters remained on the ice while the goal was reviewed. Meanwhile, Washington players and coaching staff made their way down the team’s tunnel comfortably sure they’d won. After review, it was determined the play was onside, and so the goal stood. Craig Anderson, in taking the W, marked his first playoff win since May 23, 2017.
Vitek Vancecek is listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury, but Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette would not provide more detailed information. Forward Evgeny Kuznetsov and goaltender Ilya Samsonov have been activated off the league’s COVID-19 Absences list, but it is unclear if they will play soon. The Washington Capitals reassigned goaltender Zach Fucale from the Hershey Bears.
Below is the official schedule vs. BOS (all times in EST):
Game 2: Monday May 17 @ 7:30pm
Game 3: Wednesday May 19 @ 6:30pm
Game 4: Friday May 21 @ 6:30pm
Game 5 *if necessary*: Sunday May 23 @ TBD
Game 6 *if necessary*: Tuesday May 25 @ TBD
Game 7 *if necessary*: Thursday May 27 @ TBD
The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins will play Game 2 on Monday May 17th at 7:30 EST, and can be watched on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Washington