3 Keys: Bruins at Capitals, Game 5 of first round

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No. 3 Bruins at No. 2 Capitals

7 p.m. ET; USA, SN1, TVAS, NBCSWA, NESN

Boston leads best-of-7 series, 3-1

WASHINGTON — The Boston Bruins can advance to the Stanley Cup Second Round with a win against the Washington Capitals in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup First Round at Capital One Arena on Sunday.

Boston has won three in a row since losing 3-2 in overtime in Game 1, including a 4-1 victory in Game 4 on Friday.

“I think the mindset doesn’t change,” Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said. “You have to take it a game at a time, stay in the moment. I think that’s always what we’ve tried to accomplish. … It’s about tonight’s game and making sure we know that the Capitals are going to bring out their best and we have to be ready for that.”

Washington will try to avoid being eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season since winning the Stanley Cup in 2018.

“It’s obviously not the best place to be in. We all know that,” Capitals defenseman John Carlson said. “But I think you’ve just got to look really shortsighted in this moment. I think we’re a good team. We haven’t performed like we’re capable or like we want to but can change that tonight, and that’s what we’re focused on.” 

Teams that trail 3-1 are 29-291 (9.1 percent) winning a best-of-7 series, including 0-13 last season.

Here are 3 keys for Game 5: 

 

1. Production from top six

The Capitals have gotten production from fourth-line forwards Nic Dowd (two goals) and Garnet Hathaway (two goals, one assist), but Tom Wilson‘s goal that opened the scoring 6:22 into Game 1 is their lone even-strength goal from a top-six forward in the series. 

Although Alex Ovechkin leads Washington with four points (two goals, two assists), three have come on the power play (two goals, one assist). T.J. Oshie (power-play goal in Game 2) is the only other Capitals forward to score a goal in the series.

It appears forward Daniel Sprong, who was tied for second on Washington with 13 even-strength goals during the regular season, will play after being a healthy scratch the past two games. Michael Raffl, who has scored no points in the series, will be scratched.

 

2. Power-play adjustments

The Bruins made some changes to their power play after going 2-for-11 in the first three games of the series, including moving David Pastrnak from the left circle to the right circle, and it paid off in Game 4, when they were 3-for-5 with goals from Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Matt Grzelcyk.  

Now it’s the Capitals’ turn to change something on their power play.

Washington is 3-for-17 with the man-advantage in the series, including 1-for-7 in Game 4. Despite Ovechkin scoring on the power play in the third period of the 4-1 loss, the Bruins have focused on taking away his one-timer from left circle, so the Capitals have to look for openings elsewhere.

“There’s options from the other side, there’s options down low, there’s options in the middle, there’s options up top,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “I think the execution can be a little bit better with what we’re doing.”

 

3. Bruins’ depth on defense

The Bruins will play without defenseman Kevan Miller after he was injured on a hit by Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov in the second period of Game 4. Jarred Tinordi will replace Miller and be paired with Connor Clifton, who will shift back to his natural right side.

Clifton is filling in for defenseman Jeremy Lauzon, who sustained a lower-body injury in Game 1. The Bruins will also be without defenseman Steven Kampfer because of an arm injury. 

“We’re well down the food chain now with our D, as in years past,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Play to your strength, help us win. And that’s the ask of [Tinordi].”

 

Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak

Taylor HallDavid KrejciCraig Smith

Nick RitchieCharlie CoyleJake DeBrusk

Sean KuralyCurtis LazarChris Wagner

Matt Grzelcyk — Charlie McAvoy

Mike ReillyBrandon Carlo

Jarred Tinordi — Connor Clifton

Tuukka Rask

Jeremy Swayman

Scratched: Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, Karson Kuhlman, Greg McKegg, Oskar Steen, Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen, Jack Ahcan, Callum Booth, Jaroslav Halak, Dan Vladar

Injured: Ondrej Kase (upper body), Jakub Zboril (upper body), Jeremy Lauzon (upper body), Kevan Miller (undisclosed), Steven Kampfer (upper body)

 

Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin — Nicklas BackstromAnthony Mantha

Daniel Sprong — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Tom Wilson

Conor ShearyLars Eller — T.J. Oshie

Carl Hagelin — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Dmitry Orlov — John Carlson

Brenden DillonJustin Schultz

Nick JensenZdeno Chara

Ilya Samsonov

Craig Anderson

Scratched: Philippe Maillet, Garrett Pilon, Martin Fehervary, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Daniel Carr, Pheonix Copley, Michael Raffl

Injured: Vitek Vanecek (lower body)

 

Status report

Miller, who was taken to the hospital after he was injured in Game 4, returned home Saturday. 

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