Bruins throw 48 shots at Craig Anderson in OT win over Caps originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
For the great story Capitals goaltender Craig Anderson is putting together through two games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins looked determined to make him work for every second of praise he's gotten.
In a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 2, Anderson saved 44 of the 48 Bruins' shots on net. But the last one stung the most, as Brad Marchand ended the game just 39 seconds into overtime to tie the series up headed to Boston for Game 3 on Wednesday.
The Bruins certainly had a plan as it related to the Capitals’ third-string netminder, and that was to test him early, often and whenever possible. Anderson wasn’t the Capitals’ starting goalie entering the playoffs — that job belonged to Vitek Vanecek, who was injured in the first period of Game 1. The Bruins showed they wanted to test Anderson as much as they could to see what the 39-year-old could do after they put just 26 shots on net in their Game 1 loss.
“Obviously I think they got a couple more pucks through and I'm sure that was their gameplan, to shoot the puck a lot more,” forward Garnet Hathaway said. “I thought Andy played great. He played a great game and that's what kept us in it, but I thought we played well but we didn't play well enough.”
For all of Boston’s quantity, they certainly didn’t sacrifice much quality in firing rubber toward Washington’s net.
The Bruins finished the game with 17 high-danger chances at five-on-five, including eight in the final period. The majority of those chances came after the Capitals took a 3-2 lead and appeared to be in the driver’s seat for not just the game, but the series as a whole.
“I think any time you give up a late lead, you’re looking back at what you could’ve done differently, how you could’ve played it differently,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “You’d like to close that out at that point, so, yeah, it can be frustrating when that happens.”
The Bruins poured on the shots all night and tallied 18, 15 and 14 in each period, respectively. They only needed one in the overtime period.
At five-on-five, the Capitals were out-attempted by the Bruins 70-49, including a 30-14 tally in the third period.
“They put more pucks (at) our net and try to get battles around net,” defenseman Dmitry Orlov said. “They play quicker tonight. It was good game from both teams...We're probably going to watch some video and see what we did wrong and clean up some things and be ready for third game.”
While the Capitals certainly need to clean up the defensive part of their game, their offense wasn’t lacking at all. In the first two periods at five-on-five, the Bruins had just four more shot attempts and had two less shots. The Capitals got contributions, once again, from secondary and even tertiary scorers as Hathaway netted two goals, with the offense, for 50 minutes, buzzing.
It wasn’t until the third period, but more specifically the back-half of the third period, that the Bruins turned on the jets. And, fittingly, the tying goals were scored by Taylor Hall and Marchand, who the Capitals kept mostly quiet through the majority of the first two games.
“I think early, I think we started off playing how we wanted to,” Hathaway said. “Obviously, they got the first goal, but I don't think that's exactly how the game was going. I thought we had a lot of momentum. I thought we were controlling the play and that's what we wanted to do. We know they were going to come out harder than they did the night before and I thought we fought really hard tonight.”
Headed toward Game 3, Anderson has given Laviolette and the Capitals every reason to keep him as the starter in net as the series shifts to the road. It’s unknown right now if Vanecek will be healthy enough to be the backup, or Ilya Samsonov will be ready to rejoin the roster after a two-week absence on the COVID-19 list. But no matter who the Capitals put in net, there’s a reason for the Bruins to want to test them early and often as well.
And it’s a safe bet the Bruins will stick with what worked in D.C. when they get to Boston.
“I thought there was a lot of chances out there tonight,” Laviolette said. “There was a lot of pucks flying at the net. They’re a good offensive team. We’re at our best when we’re attacking as well. We ended up picking up Game 1. They catch it late in the game and win it in overtime and they get Game 2. So off to Boston we go, and I wouldn’t expect anything different the next couple of games.”