Good teams find different ways to win in the postseason. The Boston Bruins found different ways to win four games against the Washington Capitals, but there were times when the Caps made things just too easy for the Black and Gold.
After winning Game 1 in overtime for a 1-0 series lead, the Capitals fell apart in Game 2, allowing a late third-period goal by Taylor Hall to force overtime. In the extra session, Washington defensemen Brenden Dillon’s lazy clearing attempt was stolen at the Caps blueline by Boston center David Krejci, who made a pass to Matt Grzelcyk, whose in return made a cross-ice pass to Brad Marchand was one-timed into the net for a 4-3 overtime victory.
That was not the only blunder to cost the Capitals in the series. Not by a long shot.
The biggest gaffe happened in Game 3 at the TD Garden. After being outplayed in the first overtime by the Bruins and outshot, 17-5, the Caps survived to a second overtime. For all the saves that Washington goalie Ilya Samsonov made in the first extra session, he gave it all away in the second overtime.
Collecting a puck that was dumped into the Caps zone behind the net, Samsonov when out to control the puck. There was some miscommunication between the Washington netminder and defensemen Justin Schultz, which allowed Bruins forward Craig Smith to swoop in, steal the puck and wrap it under Samsonov and into the net 5:48 into double OT for a Bruins win and 2-1 series lead.
In Sunday night’s Game 5, the Bruins were badly outplayed in the second period as the Capitals outshot them, 20-4, yet somehow, someway, the Black and Gold headed into the locker room with a 2-0 lead after a scoreless first period.
After David Pastrnak scored a sick goal to open the scoring, Boston captain Patrice Bergeron doubled the lead at the end of the period with a goal on a wrist shot from the top of the slot. In all fairness, it was just a simple wrist shot that most, if not all, NHL playoff goalies should make the save on, but somehow the puck beat Samsonov for a key goal in an elimination game.
The Bruins head to the second round against either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the New York Islanders, while the Capitals head their separate ways this week for their summer vacation. They head their separate ways, mostly thanks to their own mistakes that the Bruins took full advantage of to end the series in five games.