The Boston Bruins were prepared for a heavyweight battle with the Washington Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. That’s exactly the way it’s playing out in the early going of Game 1 as Alex Ovechkin opened the playoffs with a massive hit on David Krejci in the opening five minutes of the first period.
The Capitals superstar was certainly trying to set a physical tone early with big hits and some shifts with a snarl, but the hit that blew up Krejci in the B’s defensive zone and knocked him off his skates was the kind of signature physicality one would expect at the outset of the playoffs.
— Hockey Hound (@HockeyHoundShow) May 15, 2021
The good news for the Boston Bruins was that Krejci simply dusted himself off and kept going with the rest of his shift. It’s certainly the kind of thing the Boston Bruins were prepared knowing they were facing a Capitals team they had their battles with during the regular season.
“You’re just using your skill and speed, and that’s one thing we have to do and not get away from it. [You don’t] want to get caught up in matching them hit for hit,” said Bruce Cassidy, prior to the start of the series. “You need to show that you’re going to wear them down as the series goes on as well, but hopefully you’re also doing it with foot speed tiring them out as they’re chasing you around.
“We have to be careful that we don’t get into that ‘we’re hitting everything that moves’ and you’re hitting late and taking penalties. Chasing hits, so to speak. It’s finding the line there. I think we’ve always been able to play both ways, skating with teams and dishing out our share of hits and taking hits to make plays. So that’s got to be our mentality. We’re going to play the right way and we’re going to play hard.”
If this is the way things play out for the entire Bruins/Capitals series, count us in for all it.