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GAME 1: Caps 3, Bruins 2 (OT) - Craig Anderson Answers the Bell

May 16, 2021, 3:07 PM ET [2 Comments]
Brian Sickles
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Hello All,

The Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2 in OT for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Here are the stats from the game:


Shots on Goal:

WSH – 32

BOS – 26


Shots on Goal (5v5):

WSH – 25

BOS – 21


Corsi For %
WSH – 51.16%
BOS – 48.84%


Power Play:

WSH – 0/1

BOS – 1/4


Hits:

WSH – 51

BOS – 41
*That is a ton of hits. Playoff hockey, baby!


Blocks:

WSH – 16

BOS – 19


Scoring Chances For:

WSH – 31

BOS – 27



Scoring Chances For (5v5):

WSH – 27

BOS – 20



High Danger Chances For:

WSH – 5

BOS – 11


High Danger Chances For: (5v5):

WSH – 5

BOS – 8


Faceoff %:

WSH – 40% (26/65)

BOS – 60% (39/65)

Goaltending:
Vitek Vanecek: Stopped 3 of 4 shots before leaving the game with an injury

Craig Anderson:
SV% .955 (Saved 21 of 22 shots faced)
GAA: 1.00

Tuukka Rask
SV% .906 (Saved 29 of 32 shots faced)
GAA: 3.00

My Takeaways from the Game:

1. Craig Anderson to the Rescue - Vitek Vanecek was injured relatively early in game when he attempted to make a save on a Jake DeBrusk shot/goal. Since Samsonov is still out of the lineup for disciplinary/covid reasons, Anderson was the next man up. If you keep up with my blog, Anderson was my darkhorse pick to win the “MVP” of the first round should the Caps ultimately defeat the Bruins. There is a lot of hockey left to be played but Anderson certainly showed he is up for the task last night. Let’s break down Andersons performance. He stopped 21 of 22 shots. He stopped 18 of 18 shots at 5v5. The goal he allowed was when the Caps were on the PK and the shot was considered a high danger shot and high danger goal by the Bruins. Here are the shot breakdowns:

Craig Anderson
High Danger Saves: 4 for 5
Medium Danger Saves: 3 for 3
Low Danger Saves: 13 for 13
Average Shot Distance faced 43.45 ft
Average Goal Distance: 8.00 ft

Tuukka Rask’s breakdown
High Danger Saves: 3 for 4
Medium Danger Saves: 8 for 9
Low Danger Saves: 10 for 11
Average Shot Distance faced 51.16 ft
Average Goal Distance: 32.33 ft

Both goalies played extremely well. I am sure Rask would like to have that OT goal back, but it was a great tip by Dowd. There is only so much you can do when a puck gets deflected at that speed. If I am the Caps, I am riding Craig Anderson as long as possible. He played well in his limited appearances during the regular season, he has plenty of playoff experience, and the dude was once considered a consistent elite goaltender. I trust Craig Anderson over a cold Samsonov ALL DAY. Hell, id even throw Pheonix Copley in there before Samsonov at this point. We will see how long Vanecek is out but even if he is healthy, I think you gotta roll with Anderson for now.

2. Caps hold Bruins Top Two Lines in Check – The Capitals did a relatively solid job holding the Bruins top two lines off the score sheet last night. The Bruins did get a PP goal and both Pastrnak and McAvoy were awarded helpers. Other than that, the top line did not produce on the score sheet. While the top two lines for the Bruins did not score, they certainly created chances. Of the 11 high danger chances generated by the Bruins, 10 were generated from the top two lines. Marchand (1), Smith (1). Krejci (3), Pastrnak (3), and Hall (2). The Bruins actually did a great job generating quality chances last night, but Craig Anderson shut the door and that’s why his name is all over the headlines this game, not the Bruins top two lines. It could have easily been flipped if Anderson plays like crap. Lets see if the Capitals can tighten up defensively against the Bruins top two lines. Allowing 10 high danger chances between those two lines is just playing with fire. Let’s keep an eye on this metric/matchup as the series continues.

3. Faceoffs – Yes, I am going to talk about faceoffs. The Boston Bruins were statistically the best faceoff team in the league winning roughly 55.3% of their draws during the regular season. The Capitals during the regular ranked 22nd in the league at 49.2%. The Capitals were largely dominated in the faceoff dot last night. The Bruins won 39 of 65 faceoffs, the Capitals only won 26 of 65. Both the goals the Capitals gave up indirectly were the result from a lost faceoff. In the offensive zone last night, the Caps did not take advantage. For offensive zone draws, the Caps only won 3 of 14 faceoffs. The Caps will look to improve on situational faceoffs both in the offensive and defensive zone for game two.

Honorable Mention: Tom freakin Wilson -Wilson opened the scoring with a wicked shot top shelf. He also had the game winning pass to Oshie who blasted a slapper on net in overtime. The puck was ultimately deflected by Dowd but it was Wilson who patiently brought the puck in the zone and found Oshie at the point for the slapper. Wilson had 4 SOG which was tied for the team lead. He also had three hits and zero PIM. You just hate to see it.

My Three Storylines to watch in Game Two:
1. Will Craig Anderson keep this up?
2. Will the Bruins Top Two Lines finally convert on all those high danger chances?
3. Caps PP vs Bruins PK and vice versa

Game 2 is Monday night at 7:30 ET in Washington D.C.

Thanks for reading everyone. It was an entertaining first game, looking forward to game two. Go Caps!
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