Boston Bruins
36-16-8
-135
+115
Washington Capitals
37-16-7
Sun, May 23 - 7:00p ET   |   USA   |   Capital One Arena
By Landon Smith

Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals NHL Semifinals Preview and Free Picks 05/23/21

Boston Bruins Will Try to Get a Win When Meet Washington Capitals from Capital One Arena - NHL Hockey Match Preview and Prediction Game on Sunday, May 23, 2021.

Preview, Prediction and Picks

The Boston Bruins had too much for Washington on both ends of the ice in the first four games of their first-round playoff series. Now the Bruins have a chance to close out the series when they visit the Capitals for Game 5 on Sunday night.

Boston holds a 3-1 lead in the Best Seven series after winning 4-1 in Game 4 on Friday night. After the Capitals, the No. 2 seed in the East Division, won Game 1 at home, the Bruins won Game 2 in Washington, then won both games in Boston to bring the Caps to the brink of elimination.

Friday's victory saw the Bruins use their speed once again to create plenty of scoring opportunities and outscore Washington 37-20. David Pastrnak led Boston with a goal and an assist, while the Bruins also had goals from Charlie Coyle, Matt Grzelcyk and Brad Marchand.

Defender Charlie McAvoy contributed three assists. Boston made the Capitals look slow and flat as the Bruins controlled the game the last two games.

The Bruins tied the Caps in the physics department, but the former Washington team clearly struggled to deal with Boston's speed.

However, Boston will be without defender Kevan Miller after a hit by Dmitry Orlov injured him in the second period of Game 4. Miller has gone to the hospital and is recovering at home. He will not play in the fifth game.

Washington must do something to launch its offensive. Alex Ovechkin scored his second goal of the series, the Caps' only goal in a 4-1 loss, but Washington has often been unable to keep up with the Bruins.

To keep their season alive, the Caps simply have to do better in Game 5.

It remains to be seen who will be on the net for Washington in Game 5. Ilya Samsonov has played the last two games and been effective except for a double error in overtime that helped the Bruins score the game winner.

Vitek Vanecek started Game 1 and walked away with an injury, and Craig Anderson, who just turned 40, went all the way and helped the Capitals to an overtime victory. Anderson then resumed Game 2, but Washington lost in overtime.

Samsonov took over in Game 3 and was playing for the first time since May 1 due to being on the COVID-19 protocol list. The Caps became the second NHL team to start three different goalkeepers in the first three playoff games.

Will they return to Samsonov for a third game in a row or will they use someone else? The Caps also need to improve their shots on goal, as they gave up three power play goals to Boston in game four loss.

 

WINNER: Washington Capitals @ +115

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By Landon Smith, on 7:00p ET