The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down the NHL playoff games today with the all-important television and live streaming information included.
• Bruins-Capitals kick off Stanley Cup Playoffs following NBC’s coverage of the 2021 Preakness Stakes.
• Sunday slate features three Game 1s, beginning with Islanders-Penguins at 12 p.m. ET on NBC.
Brad Marchand knew.
When the First Round playoff matchups were set, the veteran forward wasn’t shocked to see the Bruins and Capitals facing one another.
“You probably could have guessed it was going to play out this way,” he said this week.
That’s because almost five months ago Marchand’s former longtime teammate and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara signed in Washington. After 14 seasons in Boston, the 44-year-old Chara was pushed out as the organization aimed for a younger blue line. Well, now here we are with the veteran defender playing the role of a reliable presence with 18 minutes of ice time a night.
“I think he’s delivered everything he said he was going to do,” said Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette. “He was going to come here and he was going to be a factor on the ice. He was going to be a positive influence in the locker room, a leader in the locker room. He was going to lead by example by the way he lives his life — the way he plays the game and prepares for the game. At no point has he disappointed us in what he’s delivered this year.”
[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 First Round schedule, TV info]
Marchand also raised an interesting point about going up against Chara — something Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy and the players may need to change up before Game 1 Saturday night (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC).
“He knows when we’re doing certain plays,” Marchand said. “Obviously, teams will do video and stuff like that, but he knows all the code names that we use and typically the situations that we like to use them in. So even when we played them this season, we could see him talking to guys about the plays that we were going to do. So it could definitely cause some challenges at times. But it’s playoffs, you’ve got to work through that there.”
And while Chara may have the inside scoop on the strengths and weaknesses of his former teammates-turned-opponents, the Bruins have their own scouting report on him.
“We will break down Zee like we would any other player,” said Bruins president Cam Neely. “We know a lot of his tendencies. Maybe that will help us in certain situations. But, at the end of the day, he’s a competitor and we have a lot of competitors in our room.”
[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
NHL PLAYOFF GAMES TODAY
Game 1: Bruins at Capitals, 7:15 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream): The Bruins and Capitals meet in a playoff series for the fourth time. It’s their first postseason clash since the epic seven-game opening round series in 2012 when Washington ended Boston’s bid for back-to-back Stanley Cup titles. The Bruins and Capitals split their regular-season series, winning four games apiece. They faced each other on Tuesday in both teams’ regular season finale. Washington won 2-1 on Michael Raffl’s game-winning goal with three seconds left in regulation.
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)
PHT’s 2021 Stanley Cup previews
• Penguins vs. Islanders
• Bruins vs. Capitals
• Jets vs. Oilers
• Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens
• Lightning vs. Panthers
• Stanley Cup playoff predictions
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• NHL odds: Division winners, 2021 Stanley Cup champion
• Which NHL playoff series has biggest upset potential?