Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 3-2 double-overtime win over the Washington Capitals in Game 3 at TD Garden on Wednesday night.
GOLD STAR: Craig Smith has been consistently good for a couple of months now for the Bruins and it was his turn to shine on Wednesday night with the double-overtime game-winner. The goal was typical Smith as he doggedly hustled in to disrupt a play and forced a big gaffe in the puck handoff between Ilya Samsonov and Justin Schultz. Smith sped right in to steal the puck and then beat a lackadaisical Samsonov back to the net for a quick wraparound chance that made for an easy playoff game-winner. It was Smith’s first goal of the playoffs while doing work for the second line but was also paired with a nifty no-look drop pass to Taylor Hall for Boston’s first goal in the first period. Smith finished with two points, a plus-2, six shot attempts, three hits and three blocked shots in 22:17 of ice time and put in a full night’s work to earn the OT winner.
BLACK EYE: Ilya Samsonov made 40 saves and generally played very well in a surprise start for the Capitals coming off the COVID-19 list. He didn’t give up many rebounds as Craig Anderson had in the previous couple of games and he made some stellar saves on the Bruins while playing very big in the Washington net. But it was a youngster’s mistake in double overtime when Samsonov wasn’t on the same page with Justin Schultz for a puck handoff behind the net. Instead, Smith stole the puck and Samsonov slowly ambled his way back to the net without enough time to set up and try to stop the wraparound attempt from the B’s right winger. All it took was the one mistake and the game was over with the Bruins taking a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-seven playoff series.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins seemed to really take the game over once it got to overtime and the Capitals seemed to be wearing down after a hard, physical 60 minutes. The Bruins outshot the Capitals 17-5 in the first overtime and 19-8 overall in both extra sessions prior to the Craig Smith game-winner, and it seemed like they were doing a much better job of handling Washington’s pressure as the game went along. That turned into many chances for the B’s in the extra session and at least one golden scoring chance for David Pastrnak on a breakaway where it seemed very clear that TJ Oshie was guilty of a stick infraction before he went crashing into the end boards. There was no penalty call despite a clear foul that wiped out a scoring attempt, so the Bruins took it in their own hands to win in double overtime after that.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask was outstanding while making 35 saves in the win and he didn’t give up a single soft or goofy goal in this one. Instead, the Boston Bruins netminder seemed locked in and even delivered three straight jabs to Garnet Hathaway after the Capitals forward knocked him helmet off and then tried to throw a headlock on him before falling into the crease. Amazingly, Rask now has the second-most playoff wins among active NHL goaltenders with 53 postseason victories that has him three ahead of former Washington nemesis Braden Holtby. Rask was at his best in the second period when he stopped 12 shots as the Capitals really surged forward with the attack, but he was solid throughout the double-overtime win.
Tuukka Rask – not a fan of Garnet Hathaway: pic.twitter.com/ftJldo5yoi
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) May 20, 2021
BY THE NUMBERS: 12 – the number of consecutive one-goal playoff games between the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals dating back to 1988, which is a franchise record for both hockey clubs at this point.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Don’t sleep, bitch!” –Alex Ovechkin through Russian translation as he was screaming at his young Russian goalie teammate Ilya Samsonov as the Capitals left the bench following the double-overtime loss. Nice leadership moment there from the 35-year-old Capitals captain.
I’d imagine he’s ripping his young Russian goalie teammate there https://t.co/kStnxZNdDG
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) May 20, 2021