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Capitals battle bad breaks in Game 1, beat Bruins in OT with Anderson’s help

Nic Dowd tips in the game winner in OT to lead the Capitals to a 3-2 win over the Bruins in Game 1, giving Washington a 1-0 series lead in the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Things didn’t always go the Capitals’ way in Game 1, but they kept battling, beating the Bruins 3-2 in OT. This gives Washington a 1-0 series lead. Nic Dowd ended up credited with an OT goal by tipping a T.J. Oshie shot.

(There was some drama as the Capitals narrowly avoided an offside call on that OT goal. But it stood.)

Oshie ended up with two assists on the night.

Just 6:22 in, the Capitals took advantage of Charlie McAvoy’s stick breaking to complete a nice opening goal by Tom Wilson. That ended up being the prettiest game of regulation, which ended up tied 2-2.

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

The Capitals were already without Ilya Samsonov vs. the Bruins in Game 1. It was already bad enough that Vitek Vanecek allowed a shaky goal by Jake DeBrusk, but Vanecek also got hurt:

This opened the door for an unlikely scenario for Bruins - Capitals Game 1, at least in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. For the first time since 2017, Craig Anderson appeared in a playoff game.

(Really, it’s just been that kind of season for Washington in net. As you may remember, the Caps expected Henrik Lundqvist to be in the mix, then doctors discovered issues with his heart.)

Remarkably, this was Craig Anderson’s first playoff game since the Penguins eliminated the Senators in double overtime of Game 7 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Final. With this memorable win, Anderson’s now 12-6 in career OT games. He’ll turn 40 on May 21.

Some officiating gripes in Bruins - Capitals Game 1

As attendance numbers climb during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we’ll get moments where crowds get to voice their displeasure for calls (or non-calls). That happened in front of the crowd for Bruins - Capitals Game 1.

Early on, there was a beef about an icing call that maybe should’ve been called. (Check this Japers’ Rink tweet for more on that.)


Capitals fans serenaded officials after Taylor Hall drew his second power-play of Game 1 for the Bruins. (For what it’s worth, from here, it seemed like the right call, and could have been dangerous for Hall.)

Caps fans were once again enraged during a span where Alex Ovechkin got a step on an opponent and almost scored, and then T.J. Oshie’s helmet got knocked off during some rough stuff. Through regulation of Capitals - Bruins Game 1, Boston received four power-play opportunities, while Washington only enjoyed one.

While Zdeno Chara occasionally struggled when facing top Bruins scorers, he delivered on the PK when he was on the ice for the Capitals.

All things considered, the Capitals must feel enthused about taking Game 1 vs. the Bruins. Boston? They’ll head into Game 2 with some regrets.

CAPITALS VS. BRUINS - series livestream link

Game 1: Capitals win 2-1 (OT)
Monday, May 17: Bruins at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Wednesday, May 19: Capitals at Bruins, 6:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Friday, May 21: Capitals at Bruins, 6:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
*Sunday, May 23: Bruins at Capitals TBD
*Tuesday, May 25: Capitals at Bruins TBD
*Thursday, May 27: Bruins at Capitals TBD

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