NHL Playoff Buzzer: Capitals find a way to beat Bruins in Game 1 OT

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  • A lot went wrong for the Capitals before and during Game 1 vs. the Bruins. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov didn’t play, and Vitek Vanecek got injured on Boston’s first goal. Yet, Washington kept battling, and the Capitals ultimately won Game 1 in OT to take a 1-0 series lead over the Bruins.
  • In Saturday’s North Division (non-playoff) game, the Canucks beat the Oilers 4-1.

Game 1: Capitals 3, Bruins 2 (OT); Washington leads 1-0

In Craig Anderson‘s last playoff appearance, his Senators fell to the Penguins in double OT Game 7 during the 2017 Eastern Conference Final. Anderson was sharp, and the Capitals didn’t allow setbacks to derail them, ultimately beating the Bruins 3-2 in OT to take Game 1.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 First Round schedule, TV info]

Three Stars for Saturday in NHL

1. T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals

Oshie didn’t get credited with the overtime game-winning goal. Instead, Nic Dowd scored the OTGWG by tipping in a hard Oshie shot.

But Oshie made a big impact, even though it wasn’t certain he’d even play in Saturday’s NHL action. Oshie collected two assists, managed a +1 rating in a tight game, fired four shots on goal, and delivered four hits in limited ice time (13:40).

If Peter Laviolette is obsessed with faceoffs, then Oshie’s stay as a center might be short. He went 1-7 on draws during Game 1 between the Bruins and Capitals. It’s unclear if Evgeny Kuznetsov will be available for Game 2, but the Caps might just take some lost draws if Oshie can contribute this much.

2. Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals

When people talk up Tom Wilson’s skill, rather than his controversial hits, they’ll point to nights like these.

Wilson opened scoring for Game 1 of Capitals – Bruins as he combined with Oshie to take advantage of Charlie McAvoy breaking his stick. In a contest where most of the goals came in part due to work in “the dirty areas,” this was a really pretty rush play.

The winger also carried the puck in while the Capitals narrowly avoided going offside before the OTGWG. Wilson generated a goal, an assist, four SOG, three hits, and didn’t take a penalty.

3. Matthew Highmore, Vancouver Canucks

Non-playoff-performances won’t make it into this part of many playoff buzzers. That said, with only two NHL games (one playoff, one-non) on Saturday, Highmore’s two-goal game squeaks in.

You could consider J.T. Miller from that one, too, as he generated two assists in Vancouver’s win. Granted, the win probably means more for hurting the Canucks’ chances at a better draft pick than anything else, but still. (If you want to replace players from a meaningless game, Craig Anderson notched 21 saves in victorious relief duty.)

Connor McDavid ended his incredible regular season with 105 points, by the way. Unreal.

[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Stats of the night for Saturday in the NHL

  • Craig Anderson became the oldest Capitals goalie to win a playoff game, and he’s one of the older NHL netminders to win in relief.

SUNDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 1: Islanders at Penguins, 12 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
Game 1: Wild at Golden Knights, 3 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
Game 1: Lightning at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)

 

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.