Boston Bruins

May 15, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins in the first period in game one of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A Nic Dowd deflection off and under Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask, and over the goal line, at the 4:41 mark of the overtime frame was enough to give the Capitals a 1-0 series lead over the Bruins at Capital One Arena.

“I think I probably bumped it into my net,” Tuukka Rask, who finished with 29 saves in the losing effort, said. “I think all the goals [tonight] hit a stick. That’s just how it goes sometimes. That’s just hockey. Tough luck on me.”

The Bruins began this night with a bad break, too, as a Charlie McAvoy broken stick on a shot attempt created a three-on-one advantage for the Capitals finished by Tom Wilson for the first goal of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But a Jake DeBrusk snipe at the other end 6:48 after Wilson’s series-opening tally evened things back up, and ended Capitals netminder Vitek Vanecek’s first career playoff start after less than 14 minutes of work.

With Craig Anderson summoned in for his first postseason action since 2017 (a run that began with Anderson and the Senators eliminating the Bruins in the first round and ended in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals), the Bruins struggled to get much of anything thing through, with just three shots on Anderson before the period’s end.

The Capitals built on that smothering defensive finish with the go-ahead goal, too, scored off a Brenden Dillon point shot and off the Bruins’ Jeremy Lauzon and through Rask for a Washington lead at the 8:44 mark of the period. It was just an almost impossibly brutal start to the Bruins’ postseason, all things considered, with the aforementioned Wilson goal created off a broken stick at the other end before Lauzon tipped one through his own netminder.

All while the Bruins’ offense continued to be stymied at the other end, with just six shots on Anderson through almost a full period of work with Anderson in Vanecek’s spot in the D.C. crease.

But the Bruins found their break, and the game-tying goal once again, off a Nick Ritchie power-play deflection with just 3:22 remaining in the period, and off some unbelievably hard work from Craig Smith throughout the power play.

Anderson finished with 21 saves on 22 shots in relief of Vanecek, while the Bruins certainly made life easy on both of them, with 21 missed shots by the night’s end, including five from Patrice Bergeron alone.

The sides will get back at it for Game 2 on Monday 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.