Boston Bruins

Apr 18, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) collides with Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

A tie through 60 minutes of action did more than set the stage of a beautiful Taylor Hall winner in a 3-2 overtime win over the Islanders on Monday night. In fact, it locked the Bruins into the No. 3 seed in the East Division playoff bracket, which will pit the Bruins against the Capitals for the first playoff series between the sides since 2012.

And the Bruins know they have their work cut out for them.

“Solid team, great top-six, big bodies,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of the Capitals. “Their coach has been there many times, so they’re going to be ready to go. Obviously playing [Zdeno Chara], I’m sure that will become a storyline.”

“They’re obviously a very dominant team, big, physical,” Brad Marchand echoed. “They gain a lot of emotion and energy from that. They have a lot of guys that play that way. They’re built to be heavy and to be a playoff team, and they’re built for the playoffs. And it’s going to be a tough series. We definitely have our work cut out for us, but we’re excited for the challenge.”

“Once we clinched, knowing the teams that we’re going to be in the playoffs in our division, you couldn’t really pick an opponent,” said Hall. “They’re three very good hockey teams, three teams that are built for the playoffs.”

“Every team in our division is a very competitive team,” Marchand offered. “And then you look around the league, there’s a ton of great teams this year. So literally every team that’s in the playoffs has a legit chance to go all the way.

“But what happens in playoffs is you need everything to go your way. You need all the bounces, you need the calls at the right time. The biggest need is you need guys to stay healthy. So, you know, for it to line up perfectly, it’s going to happen to one team. Hopefully at the end of day, it’s our team. But it’s going to be a hell of a battle to get out of our division and then our conference and then obviously all the way. So we’re going to take it step-by-step, game-by-game, and day-by-day and hopefully at the end of the day we’re standing there.”

If there’s one thing that the Bruins can take comfort in heading into the 2021 postseason, it’s that they’ve done a solid job against the Capitals, going 4-1-2 against Washington through their first seven meetings of the year. (It’s also worth mentioning that Boston’s lone regulation loss to the Caps featured fourth-string goaltender Daniel Vladar in net and had first-year professional Jack Ahcan and Jarred Tinordi logging top-pairing minutes on the backend.)

“A team we’ve played well against this year,” Cassidy noted. “Looking forward to the matchup. It’s ironic. We’re playing them tomorrow ahead of the playoffs, but I guess that has happened in the past. But, you know, we’ll do we have to do tomorrow and then spend the rest of the week getting ready for Game 1 and go from there.”

And the wait won’t be a long one, as the Bruins and Capitals will drop the puck on Game 1 on Saturday night.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.