The Boston Bruins managed to even up their first-round series at one game a piece with the Washington Capitals on Monday night. They kind of fixed their offensive issues as they threw 48 shots on Caps’ goaltender Craig Anderson and crashed his net often.
However, the B’s continued to struggle in their own zone.
Like Saturday night, the Black and Gold continued to fail to keep the Caps out from the front of their net on Monday night. Boston has consistently failed to help clear the sight lines of Tuukka Rask, allowing the Caps to screen Rask and deflect shots past Boston’s goaltender. In fact, four out of the six goals allowed by Rask have come off of deflections.
The other two happened via 2-on-1’s. The first being the opening goal of the series in which defenseman Charlie McAvoy broke his stick at the point resulting in a turnover and 2-on-1 with T.J. Oshie and Tom Wilson.
The second resulted from this bad pinch from defenseman Kevan Miller, leading to a 2-on-1 with Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway.
The Boston Bruins should scratch Kevan Miller after his mistake in Game 2.
Miller’s poorly timed pinch led to third and what was the go-ahead goal for the Caps in Game 2. In my opinion, this mistake should result in a healthy scratch for Miller. These mistakes just can’t be made in the playoffs, especially from a veteran defenseman, like Miller.
However, who exactly goes into the lineup if Miller is scratched?
Jeremy Lauzon is currently dealing with a hand injury, so his status for Game 3 is unknown. Jakub Zboril is also injured at the moment.
The other defensemen the Black and Gold have at their disposal are rookie Urho Vaakanainen, Jarred Tinordi, and Steve Kampfer. Vaakanainen and Tinordi are both left shots, while Kampfer is a right shot.
Another thing to think about is whether or not Connor Clifton should remain in the lineup and, if he does, if he should be playing his weak side on the left or his strong side on the right. If Kampfer goes in, Clifton will most likely remain on the left, unless Tinordi or Vaakanainen plays. If it’s Tinordi or Vaakanainen, Clifton moves over to the right side.
Without Miller in the lineup, I would say my rankings for third-pair options are as followed:
- Clifton – Kampfer
- Tinordi – Kampfer
- Tinordi – Clifton
- Vaakanainen – Kampfer
- Vaakanainen – Clifton
- Vaakanainen – Tinordi
So basically, my top pairing without Miller is Clifton and Kampfer, but if Tinordi or Vaakanainen play, I would rather have Kampfer play over Clifton.
However, overall, the odds that Miller is scratched are low. He brings a great more deal of experience than any of these other options, which gives him an edge.