Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 3-2 OT loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs at Capital One Arena.
GOLD STAR: Give all kinds of credit to Craig Anderson, who played in just four games this season for the Washington Capitals while staying ready for a chance to play. That change arrived in the first period when Vitek Vanacek suffered a lower body injury attempting to make a save and the Capitals had already been wiped of their organizational goalie depth with Ilya Samsonov and Hendrik Lundqvist unavailable as well. Anderson did well stopping 21-of-22 shots he faced even if the Bruins didn’t do nearly well enough throwing pucks at the Washington net knowing they had a rusty goaltender between the pipes. Now Anderson enters as a potential factor in the series as an experienced veteran with a strong NHL playoff resume as opposed to unproven youngsters like Vanacek and Samsonov. Whatever happens, it was a great story for Anderson to step in there and play as well as he did, and it bears reminding that he’s got a career .929 save percentage in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
BLACK EYE: Tuukka Rask wasn’t much to blame for either of the first two goals he allowed. One was a broken Charlie McAvoy stick on a shot at the offensive blue line that turned into an odd-man rush going the other way, and the other was a Brendan Dillon point shot that deflected off Jeremy Lauzon’s stick on the way to the back of the net. But the overtime goal was a weird one as a Nic Dowd deflection of a TJ Oshie shot hit Rask square in the chest, and then somehow managed to get kicked behind him and into the net. When a goalie gives up an odd one in overtime for a playoff game-winner, there is most definitely some responsibility for it happening on the goaltender’s end of things. So, Rask wasn’t bad on the whole on Saturday night at all, but he wasn’t exactly what anybody would call a brick wall either. And sometimes you need those in the playoffs. In the literal sense, David Krejci might have had a black eye after this thumping first period statement hit from Alex Ovechkin.
TURNING POINT: For the Bruins, it was immediately after Jake DeBrusk scored the game-tying goal in the first period. The goal also saw Vanacek get knocked out of the hockey game and the Boston Bruins didn’t do nearly enough to jump on the backup goalie in Craig Anderson. Instead, they simply played for the tie in the first period and then managed to cobble together just three shots on net in the first 13 minutes of the second period. That’s a feeble amount of puck possession and attack mentality against a goalie that’s been out of action nearly all season, and it’s not nearly good enough from a Boston Bruins team that thinks their offense is a big-time strength. The Bruins really let the Capitals off the hook in the middle of the hockey game.
HONORABLE MENTION: Give Jake DeBrusk credit for dusting off his regular season struggles and refocusing on the Stanley Cup playoffs as a reset button. DeBrusk made a huge play for the Bruins off a Curtis Lazar faceoff win in the offensive zone as he snapped a shot against a surprised Vanacek before knocking the Capitals goalie out of the game. DeBrusk played with energy, enthusiasm, he hustled on the back-check and he was contesting for pucks with his body like he doesn’t do enough of during the regular season. It’s a good sign for the Bruins that DeBrusk was playing this way on Saturday night, but they sure could use more of that moving forward. DeBrusk finished with three shot attempts, one hit and a plus-1 in his 12 minutes of ice time to go along with his goal.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4-12-7 – Tuukka Rask’s record, regular season and playoffs, against the Washington Capitals after losing Game 1 in overtime vs. Washington on Saturday night.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I probably bumped it into my own net or something. I haven’t seen the replay. I think all of the [Capitals] goals hit a stick. That’s how it goes sometimes.” –Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask on the overtime game-winner that he accidently kicked into his own net after the puck initially hit him in the chest.