Marchand With the Dagger

“In a series like this, momentum doesn’t change until you lose on home ice.”

That was the quote on the NESN pregame show by one of the hosts prior to Game 2 of the Bruins/Caps series. Well, it looks like the momentum is now decked out in black and gold. The Bruins win just 39 seconds into overtime to even the series at a game apiece and send the teams shipping up to Boston for games 3 and 4 later this week.

Bruce Cassidy rolled out almost the same lineup as last game, with just a few tweaks amongst the bottom 6 up front. DeBrusk, was back on his off wing on the 3rd line with Coyle at the pivot and Ritchie on the opposite wing and Kuraly was back on the 4th with Lazar and Wagner. On defense it was time for Cliffy hockey as Lauzon got a seat in favor of Clifton. Prior to the game Butchie talked about Clifton’s compete level and his ability to be productive offensively from the off wing. Tuukka Rask was back between the pipes as his dad Craig Anderson was in net for the Caps.

The Coyle line got the Bruins on the board at the 5-minute mark as the former South Shore King carried the puck into the Caps zone.  Driving the net on the RW, he head faked Dillon to his knees and drew Anderson out to the faceoff circle before circling the net and laying the puck back to Playoff Jake DeBrusk for his 2nd goal in as many games: 1-0 good guys. The Caps weren’t going to make it easy as they tied it up less than 2 minutes later. Ovechkin found Oshie with a slap pass in the high slot that Oshie redirected up over Rask’s blocker to make it a goal apiece. 

The Erection Line got the next one for the B’s as Bergeron converted a Pastrnak feed to put the B’s back up. Pasta gloved down an attempted clear and kept himself onside to find Bergy in the high slot where his drag snap beat Anderson over the glove. Marchand with the net drive may have impacted Anderson’s sight line on the play. 

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on May 18, 2021.

Late in the first, the Caps tied it up again on Hathaway’s goal. Orlov with a shot from the point that redirected at least twice on it’s way to the net where it leaked through Rask to give Hathaway his first of 2 on the night. “A puck with eyes” as Home Boy Jack called it on the NESN feed. Of course everyone wants to blame that one on Rask online, but how do you not clear out the front of the net for him? I mean that’s Lars Eller taking away Rask’s eyes, it’s not like it’s Wendel Clark parked in front. 

The Bruins didn’t play the cleanest opening 20, too many turnovers and poor puck management almost did them in if it wasn’t for Rask bailing them out. The physical play was apparent all over the ice as illustrated below.

Originally tweeted by Spittin’ Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) on May 17, 2021.

Originally tweeted by Washington Capitals (@Capitals) on May 18, 2021.

The 2nd period had more flow as the neutral zone opened up a bit and the teams traded chances throughout. The Bruins definitely had an edge in zonetime this period and better entries into the Caps zone. Another instance of how coaching matters: with the PP looking disjointed in the first due to the WAS PK being aggressive on entries and up high, the Bruins put Krecji and McAvoy up top on PP1, both of whom are comfortable carrying the puck in traffic. The moves paid off (without showing up on the scoresheet YET) as the Bruins finally got set up and looked comfortable on the power play. Funny moment when Clifton and Wilson got called for a rough (Clifton) and an embellishment (Wilson); maybe don’t go down so easy when you got 25 pounds and 5 inches on the guy who bumps you? But keep flexing in the penalty box you donkey. The Bruins outshot the Caps 15-9 in the 2nd period as they were finally getting shots through the Caps defenders on Anderson. 

Some selfish, lazy penalties put the Bruins on the PK for 4 of the first 5 minutes of the 3rd period. First Ritchie with an unnecessary roughing penalty and then Hall at the end of his shift with a hook instead of moving his feet. The Bruins killed off the penalties but were victimized in the “vulnerable minute” when Miller stepped up in the neutral zone and the Caps came down 2 on 1 on Grz. Orlov found Hathaway for his 2nd of the game when he beat Rask over the glove as Rask was moving right to left. It wasn’t a power play goal, but it might as well have been. Things didn’t look good in Bruin-land as they couldn’t get one past Anderson until Taylor Hall finally did in the last 3 minutes of the game. Hall carried the puck into the Caps zone and found Craig Smith on the doorstep as he came down the LW. The Bruins all crashed the net and the puck was loose in the blue paint as Hall circled the net and punched it in from the right post, tie game bitches. Of course we’re heading to overtime. That’s the theme of this year’s playoffs.

In the extra time, well just watch for yourselves….

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on May 18, 2021.

As Home Boy Jack loves to say: Triangles, all over the ice: triangles, make it look nice.

Plus/Minus

Plus:

  • Jake DeBrusk making me eat my words. Go off young king.
  • Curtis Lazar was sent for a ride by Tom Wilson in the first period (video above), but as he came back out on the ice he had the biggest grin on his face. Love that.
  • Marchand playing physical and “dragging us into the fight” according to teammates after the game. That’s leadership baby.
  • Mike Reilly had more SOG tonight than he’s had since he got here. Is playing against his old goalie making him more comfortable offensively? Hope so, he sure looks good dropping down the LW wall.

Minus:

  • The line of Lazar-Kuraly-Wagner didn’t play for over 10 minutes in the 2nd and a good chunk of the 3rd. Might see the playoff debut of Trent Frederic next game.
  • Kevan Miller had 1 shift in the opening period but was back out for the start of the 2nd and looked fine (even blocked an Ovechkin shot off his reconstructed knee late), but if he misses any time, that’s one of the only physically intimidating D-men we have.
  • Poor puck management. Can’t give the Caps easy entry into the B’s defensive zone. Have to make it hard for them to gain entry. Easiest way to do so is to not hand them the puck repeatedly in the neutral zone. Short passes, move your feet.
  • Stay out of the box! Don’t get caught up in the Caps reindeer games.

Game Notes:

  • The Caps juggled lines to put Wilson with Ovechkin and Backstrom in the third. Think they were trying to get Ovi going? He was -2 tonight and looked more disinterested than usual on defense. Saw this stat earlier today: This season in 5v5 against the Bruins, Ovechkin was a -13. He can fill the net with pucks, but gotta play a complete game in the playoffs bud.
  • On the polar opposite end of the complete player spectrum: In 151 career playoff games Patrice Bergeron is an amazing +45 with 111 points and a 58.6% face-off percentage. I’m not sure, is that good? What a legend.
  • Speaking of legends: Brad Marchand’s OT goal eclipsed the franchise record for fastest OT goal which was at 00:40 seconds and held by Bobby Orr. Ever hear of him?

Thinks it’s playoff hockey time? What a league!

Author: Brownie

Hockey fan/player from the greater Boston area.

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