TCL Round 1 Staff Predictions: Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals



The defending Stanley Cup Champions will have to first go through the Washington Capitals in this year's playoffs if they have any plans of repeating. Fortunately for them, the Capitals aren't exactly the most consistent team in the league right now. Frankly, they're probably lucky to find themselves in the playoffs after everything that's gone on in the nation's capital this year. Star players underperforming and creating mutinies against coaches, GMs unable to figure out what to do with their team, just a lot of headaches and problems for the Caps and their fans.
The Bruins, on the other hand, might be without Nathan Horton for the entirety of the playoffs, but they remain one of the most consistent and deep teams in the league. Tyler Seguin's improvement since hoisting the cup last spring will make Horton's absence hurt less, and while you probably shouldn't expect another Conn Smythe / Vezina performance out of Tim Thomas, he's still Tim Thomas. It's kind of ironic that he's playing in Washington after his "political opinions" from earlier this season, but that's another story and should not affect his performance in this series. The Bruins should take this and move on to the second round, leaving Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps wondering what they need to do to fix their team for another year.

Consensus: Boston Bruins in 6 Games.


Game 1: Thu. April 12 at 7:30PM in Boston
Game 2: Sat. April 14 at 3PM in Boston
Game 3: Mon. April 16 at 7:30PM in Washington
Game 4: Thu. April 19 at 7:30PM in Washington
Game 5: Sat. April 21 at 3PM in Boston (if necessary)
Game 6: Sun. April 22 at TBD inWashington (if necessary)
Game 7: Wed. April 25 at TBD in Boston (if necessary)
*All Puckdrops are inEastern Standard Time*
Genius or Madness: 
Chuck Gaston - Caps in 7
This is my upset pick in the east. While Boston has been good lately, they haven't shown their physical prowess that many are used to. The Caps on the other hand are heading into the playoffs with a well rested Backstrom, arguably the best player on that team. Holtby has shown flashes of greatness and if he is on, the Caps walk away with an impressive game 7 victory.
George Royle - Caps in 7
When the Caps do well in the regular season, they do poor in the playoffs. I am going for a reversed theory, and after an average regular season I think Washington will edge the Bruins in a very tight series.

Previous SeriesThis is the third series between these two teams, and the first since 1998. Both teams have won once.

Blogger Showdown: Washington Capitals - Mike Dusak

Key Players:
-F Tyler Seguin 81GP 29G 39A 67PTS +37 242 shots;
-F Patrice Bergeron 81GP 22G 42A 64PTS +36 191 shots;
-F Milan Lucic 81GP 26G 35A 61PTS +7 201 hits;
-D Zdeno Chara 79GP 12G 40A 52PTS +33 25:00TOI;

-G Tim Thomas 59GP .920SVP 2.36GAA 5SO 35-19-1

-F Alexander Ovechkin 78GP 38G 27A 65PTS -8 303 shots;
-F Alex Semin 77GP 21G 33A 54PTS +9 183 shots;
-F Mick Backstrom 42GP 14G 30A 44PTS -4 95 shots;
-D Dennis Wideman 82GP 11G 35A 46PTS -8 23:54TOI; 

-G Braden Holtby, somehow, 7GP .922SVP 2.49GAA 1SO 4-2-1

Key Injuries:
Boston: Marc Savard (concussion, done), Nathan Horton (concussion, done), Tuukka Rask (lower body, 4-6 weeks), Adam McQuaid (eye, DTD)

Washington: Tom Poti (groin, indefinitely), John Erskine (lower body, indefinitely), Tomas Vokoun (groin, indefinitely), Michal Neuvirth (lower body, DTD)

Prax's Take:
In all the games I've seen the Capitals play this season, nothing indicates to me that they're ready to play a team like the Boston Bruins in the playoffs. I may not like the defending Stanley Cup champions, but it wouldn't be fair to deny them what they are. And that's a good hockey team that's built for the playoffs. On the other side of the ice, you have the Sharks-East. A team with talent coming out the wazoo, but unable to put it all together. Their goaltending is questionable, their defense is unorganized, and their forwards are selfish. In every sense of the word, they are the antithesis of the Boston Bruins, and they'd rather play to get rid of their coach then play to win. The Bruins are going to walk all over this team, and then Ted Leonsis is going to have to lift his head up from behind his laptop where he writes his blog and make actual changes with his team. But for now, love them or hate them, the Bruins are coasting to the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Prediction: SWEEP, Bruins in 4
Around The Checking Line:
Kyle Busch:
Alex Ovechkin might show up, he might not. But he's usually good for a great game or two, so count two as wins. Another might come if Tim Thomas is off his game, but Boston has the experience of winning the Cup last year, so look for them to smack the Capitals around.
Prediction: Bruins in 7
Derrick Newman:
Washington is a weird team. They finally showd life down the stretch which might make me think there is an upset brewing here but I think Boston is too complete of a team.
PredictionBruins in 6
Mark Trible:
Washington has been scrapping for their playoff lives down the stretch and it should pay off. However, Boston is still big, strong, and tough. The return of Backstrom will help the Caps win a couple games but Thomas v. Holtby is a no-brainer.
Prediction: Bruins in 6
Nick Symon:
Tough series to call as both teams have been up and down all season. The Bruins, who will look to defend the Cup, will have to battle with fatigue as they have played a lot of bruising hockey the last couple of seasons. It could be a concern for the Bruins going forward but shouldn't be an issue against the inconsistent Caps. For me it's the same old thing with the Caps and their usual dominating regular season wasn't so dominating this season. Chara will shut-down Ovie and the Bruins will move onto the 2nd round.
Prediction: Bruins in 6
Evan Pivnick:
Boston is an absolute powerhouse of a team. The Capitals with their shaky season are not ready to take on a team of this magnitude. Not to mention the Caps goaltending situation.
Prediction: Bruins in 5
John Link:
Washington has had an up and down season but still somehow found themselves in the playoffs. With recent injuries to their goalies and the tough offense the Bruins have it isn’t a good mix. I believe the Bruins are a well put together team that is ready to make another long run in the playoffs. Bruins easily move on in this one after 5 games
Prediction: Bruins in 5
Conor Hassard:
The Caps have talent, there’s no doubting that. Ovechkin, Semin, and Backstrom are among the league’s best when it comes to skill. However, they’re a freewheeling team and that style just won’t work against the Bruins. Chara and the rest of the big-hitters on the Bruins will eventually wear down the Caps and all their offensive firepower. In nets, Tim Thomas has all the playoff experience while the Capitals’ Braden Holtby is just a call-up this season.
Prediction: Bruins in 6
Matt Cefalu: 
The defending Stanley cup champions are tough to read at this point. One of the reasons they made the deep run that they did last year was due in large part to the outstanding play of Tim Thomas. I don’t think Thomas can withstand that same level of play this year at his age, but he will certainly carry them into at least the second round, probably third round. Chara and Seidenberg will effectively contain Ovechkin. Washington’s inconsistent goaltending will end up costing them the series.
Prediction: Bruins in 6
Adam Pardes:
Don't get me wrong, the Caps certainly started playing better hockey when it really mattered. Unfortunately for them, "better" still doesn't mean "good." The Bruins have the experience and goaltending they need to make it to the second round, which shouldn't be too far away.
Prediction: Bruins in 5
Ty Fisher:
Wake me when the Capitals can put together a string of solid performances. They're going to be out-muscled, out-hit and thoroughly outplayed by the defending champs. Not to mention the whole Tim Thomas vs. Brandon Holtby thing. Even coming off a "down" year, any sane person sides with the Bruin netminder.
Prediction: SWEEP, Bruins in 4
Andy Veilleux:
Washington has been terrible this year. Sure, they made the playoffs, but they haven't been anything like the powerhouse we have seen in the last few years. Even as a powerhouse they were 'meh' in the playoffs. Holtby is their goalie for the run, and while he is good, he won't hold out. Bruins will pound the crap out of the Caps.
Prediction: Bruins in 5



George Prax's picture

I feel dirty predicting that.