The Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals set a strong standard on Saturday night with Game 1 of the 2021 NHL Playoffs. All four games have been decided by one goal and three of the four games have gone to overtime. The Bruins and Caps have tough acts to follow after some of the best hockey we’ve seen in quite a long time on Sunday.
In order to do so, the Bruins will hope to even up the series as a short road favorite against the Capitals. Washington will hope to hold serve at home with a plus money price, much like the one that we saw prior to Game 1. Along with the -130 price tag on Boston, we have a total of 5.5 juiced to the under at Bookmaker Sportsbook.
Let’s deep dive into what happened in Game 1 and also evaluate the other angles of this Game 2 matchup.
Bruce Cassidy is not a big believer in analytics. Cassidy called out his top-line players after the Game 1 loss and said that they needed to be better. Well, the stars did shine in the Expected Goals department, but expectations and actual occurrences are two very different things. We saw that firsthand with Boston’s Game 1 loss.
It was actually everybody else that badly struggled in Game 1. The Bruins were outchanced at 5-v-5 by 15, as Washington had all kinds of premier scoring chances over the course of the game. To be honest, Tuukka Rask is the reason why the Bruins actually made it to overtime. The game was mostly played at 5-v-5 and Washington carried the play throughout, including 10 high-danger scoring chances.
Bettors seem to be expecting a bounce back from Boston in Game 2. We did see line movement on the road team in Saturday’s game as well, so at least the market has been consistent in that regard by wagering on Boston for a second straight game.
The Capitals did carry play at 5-v-5 in Game 1, which was a really good sight to see for Caps backers and fans. Washington had a lot of injuries down the stretch, as various players sat out to cure a litany of ailments. The Capitals were actually one of the best teams in the NHL throughout much of the season, but faltered a little down the stretch and fell short of being the #1 seed in the division.
If we get a repeat performance of Game 1 from Washington’s offense, then it should be a simple day at the office again for Craig Anderson. Washington actually lost starting netminder Vitek Vanacek just about midway through the first period. Anderson stepped in and stopped 21 of 22 shots and secured the victory.
Both teams really bogged the game down in the third period. At 5-v-5, Washington had the only high-danger scoring chance. They had six in the second period alone, overshadowing the four that Boston had for the full game. It was a big effort from Washington’s depth guys and one that allowed the Capitals to hold serve on home ice.
Bruins vs. Capitals Free Pick
Boston really squandered one in Game 1. The top line played well. The Bruins dominated in the faceoff circle. They went 1-for-4 on the power play compared to just one man advantage for the Capitals. It is concerning that Boston was able to keep this potent and productive Washington power play out of commission, yet still lost the game anyway.
Bettors have been siding up with Boston again here after doing the same in Game 1. Anderson could very well be an upgrade to Vanacek, but the line sits in about the same spot. I’ll take a look at Washington as a home underdog here.
Pick: Washington Capitals