The Boston Bruins continued their 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 4-3 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Monday night.
Here are some takeaways, thoughts and analysis from Game 2.
— The top forwards heard Bruce Cassidy loud and clear.
Well, that certainly wasn’t the case Monday.
Patrice Bergeron scored and helped reel Brad Marchand in after taking two penalties before he scored the game-winner in overtime to tie the series. What’s more, Taylor Hall and Jake DeBrusk also accounted for goals while David Krejci amassed an assist.
The top six clearly got the message and must carry that momentum throughout the rest of the series.
— Marchand needs to be more disciplined.
It’s playoff hockey, so tension is high, and there’s already bad blood between these two teams. Marchand, though, took two penalties, including one after a whistle, after losing his cool and was off the ice during crucial times.
Cassidy isn’t too worried about the actions of his forward despite what transpired on the ice.
“I’ve got a lot of faith and trust and loyalty to Brad,” Cassidy said over Zoom after the win. “There’s way, way more good than bad and I think he wanted to drag us into the fight.”
Drag them into the fight he did, and he certainly made up for any issues with his game-winner.
— The third line worked.
Cassidy moved Charlie Coyle back to the third-line center position with Nick Ritchie and DeBrusk, and it paid dividends with DeBrusk scoring and Coyle and Ritchie collecting an assist apiece.
— The power play still isn’t there.
The Bruins found themselves on the man-advantage twice in the game and did not capitalize either time. They did kill three of Washington’s four penalties, but will need to find a way score when they have the extra skater.
— The Bruins did play Alex Ovechkin quite well.
In fact, the Black and Gold were incredibly strong against the Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Anthony Mantha line as a whole. The trio had no goals and were outchanced when they were on the ice, something that will be crucial to do going forward if the Bruins want to win this series.
— The defense still needs to do more.
Connor Clifton, who was playing for the injured Jeremy Lauzon, was strong during his 14:37 of ice time, but there still were some issues on the blue line. Kevan Miller made a costly mistake on the pinch that led to the Capitals’ go-ahead goal in the third, and the defense as a whole essentially was getting manhandled in front of the net throughout the night and had problems clearing.
— Playoff Taylor Hall has entered the chat.
We’ve said several times Hall looks like a completely different player after coming to Boston via trade with the Buffalo Sabres at this year’s trade deadline. That continued to ring true Monday when he scored the gritty game-tying goal. Hall, though, believes he has more to give, which is a scary thought.
“I still think I have another level to go, personally,” he said.
— Fewer passes might be the key to unlocking more offense.
The Bruins often made some unnecessary extra and forced passes through the neutral zone when they could have taken a shot on net instead. They need to challenge the Caps more when they have the opportunity to do so.
— Game 3 is set for Wednesday night at TD Garden at 6:30 p.m. ET. You can catch all the action on NESN beginning at 5:30 p.m.