Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall (71) celebrates after scoring on Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov (30) in the second period of Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Wednesday, May 19, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
- The Boston Bruins try to eliminate the Washington Capitals in Game 5
- Washington’s Alex Ovechkin doesn’t yet have an even-strength goal in the series
- Read below for the odds, game preview, and betting pick
The Boston Bruins are a slight -130 favorite to beat the Washington Capitals in Game 5 and win their first round NHL playoff series for the fourth consecutive season.
A late surge lifted the Bruins into the playoffs. Now, they are playing the committed defensive style that has been their trademark for years. They have won two overtime games in the series, and goalie Tuukka Rask owns a 1.99 goals-against average.
The Bruins have been better in most statistical categories, particularly on the power play where the Alex Ovechkin-led Caps should have the advantage.
Bruins vs Capitals Game 5 Odds
|Team||Moneyline at DraftKings||Spread||Total|
|Boston Bruins||-130||-1.5 (+205)||O 5.5 (+112)|
|Washington Capitals||+113||+1.5 (-250)||U 5.5 (-136)|
Odds as of May 22nd
Where is Nicklas Backstrom?
Ovechkin is Washington’s captain and primary offensive force, but for many years Washington’s offensive charge has started with Backstrom setting the table.
In the first four games of this series, Backstrom has no goals, and one assist, with a -1 plus-minus. The Capitals probably can’t beat Boston without Backstrom rediscovering this game.
It would also help if newcomer Anthony Mantha started scoring again. The Caps acquired him from Detroit with the idea he could become one of their go-to playoff scorers. If you go back to the regular-season, Mantha has gone 14 games without a goal. Defenseman John Carlson (no goals, two assists, -2) also isn’t contributing as much offensively as he usually does.
Bruins vs Capitals Series Odds
|Team||Odds at DraftKings|
Rask’s Consistency Keys Boston’s Success
It’s difficult to understand why Rask isn’t beloved in Boston. At best, you would say fans have a love-hate relationship with Rask. At worst, you’d say the majority of fans would prefer to have another goalie.
The perplexing part of Rask’s reputation in Boston is that he has served the team well in net through the years.
A record victory.@tuukkarask is now atop the B’s all-time postseason wins list. Congrats, Tuukks!#NHLBruins | @SullivanTire pic.twitter.com/L6TSmYDtm3
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 22, 2021
That’s certainly true now. The four playoff teams in the East Division have comparable talent collections, but Rask on paper gives the Bruins an edge in net. He’s seen it all in Boston through the years, and has strong numbers to show he handled it reasonably well.
In this series, he has a .930 save percentage, and has stopped 54 of 57 shots on net in the past two games.
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Bruins Down a Defenseman
The Boston Bruins have already said that defenseman Kevan Miller won’t play Game 5 against the Capitals on Sunday.
In Game 4, Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov was assessed a five-minute major, later rescinded to a four-minute double minor, after an open-ice check that sent Miller to the hospital. Orlov jumped to hit Miller’s chest and shoulder. The Bruins defenseman then fell awkwardly and his head struck the ice.
Miller has been released from the hospital, but the Bruins have not offered any details of his condition.
#NHLBruins coach Bruce Cassidy on Kevan Miller:
“Kevan is back home, spent the night at the hospital. Went through a number of tests. Feeling a little bit better.”
Will be out tomorrow. Jarred Tinordi or Urho Vaakanainen will go into the lineup. pic.twitter.com/BlOXF9aVAV
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 22, 2021
Signs Point to a Bruins Clinch
The Bruins have been looking sharp for more than month. Going back to April 14, the Bruins are 15-5-1. They were often undermined by injuries this season, but when they got healthier later in the season, they started to live up to their reputation as a hard team to play against.
The addition of Taylor Hall also has provided a spark. Playing well against the Capitals isn’t new to them. They were 4-2-2 against Washington during the regular-season. When you combine the regular-season and playoffs, they are now 7-3-2 against Washington. Based on how angry Ovechkin was when the Caps lost Game 4, Washington won’t likely go quietly in Game 5. But it seems like the Bruins have more players going well than the Capitals.
The Picks: Bruins -130 , Over 5.5 (+112)
Kevin Allen has covered most major events, including the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final. He covered the NHL for USA Today from 1986-2020, receiving the Lester Patrick Award in 2013 and was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 with the Elmer Ferguson Award.