With the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs starting on Saturday, there will be many exciting matchups for fans to watch. We have the two teams who finished second and third place in the Eastern Division this year for this matchup: Capitals vs Bruins. The Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals have faced each other in the playoffs before, three times. The Bruins won the first matchup by sweeping the Capitals in 1990, while the Capitals won in 1998 in six games. In 2012 the teams met, and it was an insane series where Joel Ward ended the Bruins potential repeat run in game seven of the first round. Here’s what to look for in this year’s playoff series
Capitals vs Bruins Matchup Has Favored Bruins
The Bruins biggest question at the start of the season was how the Bruins could play without star David Pastrnak. Pastrnak, at the time, was recovering from a right hip arthroscopy plus repair to his labral. Thankfully for the Bruins, the injury did not affect Pastrnak’s playing abilities this year as he still had 48 points on the season. As for the rest of the Bruins’ offense, Brad Marchand continues to be himself and had a fantastic year. There are also players like David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron who have had great seasons in their own right.
When the trade deadline came, the Bruins needed to make a move to try and improve their scoring. One big target they wanted was Taylor Hall, who wasn’t having a good year with the Buffalo Sabres. During the night of the trade deadline, Don Sweeney pulled off a deal to get Hall to Boston. Boston received him and forward Curtis Lazar, while Buffalo got a second-round pick and Anders Bjork. While Hall didn’t make the enormous impact he wanted as soon as he got there, he has had some beautiful plays.
As for how the Bruins faced off against the Capitals this year, the Bruins are 4-2-2 against them this year. On February 1st, the Bruins came back down from 3-1 in the third against the Caps to win the game. The Bruins scored five unanswered goals during the second and third periods. But the Bruins have had bad moments against the Capitals, like losing 8-1 against them on April 11th. The big key player should be in this matchup for the Bruins should be David Pastrnak. Pastrnak has had several two-goal games against the Capitals, so he knows how he can play well against them this year.
T.J. Oshie, Anthony Mantha Could Play Huge Roles for Capitals vs Bruins
While the Washington Capitals continued to play well in their division, there are two k ey players this year that could make a big difference in the playoffs. One player is having a stellar year, while the other came over in a trade and will need to contribute more. For the rest of the Washington Capital offense, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, and John Carlson are still outstanding players for Washington. However, T.J. Oshie will be the most important guy this postseason. While he may not have the highest point totals out of all the players, this season has been extraordinary.
After losing his father, Tim Oshie, on May 4th due to Alzheimer’s, Oshie put on exceptional performance in his next game. Against the New York Rangers the following night, he scored a hat trick and was very emotional on the bench. Oshie is such a great player this year that he should be the player that stands out for the Washington Capitals in the first round.
During the trade deadline, GM Brain MacLellan went after one veteran who thought he could help the Capitals core. With help from the Detroit Red Wings, the Capitals acquired Anthony Mantha in a trade while giving up Jakub Vrana and Richard Panik. Capitals also gave away a first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and a second-rounder in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Comparing both sides of the trade, Mantha has so far not held up for the Capitals in this deal, only scoring four goals and four assists in 14 games. He’ll need to make an impact in the playoffs to make the trade worth it.
Who Will Win the Series?
This series will be exciting for sure. While they do have great players like David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, the Bruins haven’t been scoring lately as the season is coming to an end. So, the Bruins need to figure out how to get a good scoring streak going in this series. Also, they cannot avoid Tuukka Rask going down with an injury because Jaroslav Halak wasn’t great this year.
The Washington Capitals have a very skilled roster, especially Alex Ovechkin, TJ Oshie, and Nicklas Backstrom. Those three players are hard to stop whenever they start to heat up, so that is what the Washington Capitals need to rely on the most. One last piece of advice for the Washington Capitals is to make sure Tom Wilson doesn’t cause any more trouble. Fans of hockey don’t want any more controversy than what they have this year.
Prediction: Capitals in six
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