After the Capitals drew first blood Wednesday night at TD Garden, a calm, cool and collected Taylor Hall knotted things up for the Bruins.
Hall found himself all alone in front of Washington’s net halfway through the second period after receiving a backhanded feed from Craig Smith. Instead of immediately going to his backhand, Hall pulled the puck back to his forehand and roofed it over Caps goalie Ilya Samsonov.
It was an impressive display of poise, especially when you consider there likely was a sense of urgency after Alex Ovechkin had given the visitors a 1-0 lead less than a minute prior.
Boston’s second-line left wing might not have been so controlled without a brief chat with Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa earlier in the day. Hall after the Black and Gold’s 3-2 double-overtime win shed light on that exchange and how it played into his highlight-reel goal.
“Our goalie coach Bob Essensa skated by me this morning at morning skate and made a comment on a shot I had last game that I probably could have pulled it around him instead of just shooting five-hole quick,” Hall told reporters, per the Bruins. “That was kind of on my mind as the day went on. There’s times in games that you just want to get it on net quickly, you want to surprise the goalies.
“But there’s also times that if you can make a play around him, then that’s what you can do as well. Started to get some confidence goal-scoring wise since I’ve gotten here and that’s probably a good example of that.”
Hall wasn’t the only Bruin who benefited from taking coaching notes to heart Wednesday. Boston forwards have been advised to play behind Washington’s defense, which is exactly what Smith did as he potted the Game 3 winner.