BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins finally know their playoff opponent — and when the puck drops on their postseason.
As soon as Monday night’s game vs. the Islanders went into overtime, the Bruins picked up the one point they needed to lock themselves into the No. 3 seed in the East Division. In doing so, they guaranteed themselves a first-round playoff matchup against the Washington Capitals.
Game 1 will be Saturday night in Washington.
The top-seeded Penguins will play the fourth-seeded Islanders.
The Bruins ended up winning Monday night’s game in overtime, on Taylor Hall’s second goal of the night. The win gave the Bruins 73 points on the year, while the Islanders finish their season with 71 points.
— x – Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 11, 2021
For the Bruins — and any playoff team this season, for that matter — there was no easy playoff path. Given the familiarity established over the course of eight head-to-head meetings against all divisional opponents, and given the temporary format that sections off teams by division for the first two rounds, it will not be easy to make it to the league’s final four.
But the Bruins have fared well against Washington this year — at least, better than they have over the past half-decade or so. In seven head-to-head meetings, the Bruins own a 4-1-2 record against the Capitals. The two teams will face off on Tuesday night to conclude their regular seasons, though it’s expected to be a rest night for many regulars.
The last time these two teams met in the playoffs came in 2012, when Joel Ward scored the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 7 of the first round of the postseason. The Capitals won the previous postseason series between the two teams in 1998, and the Bruins swept the only other postseason series in the two teams’ history, when they met in the 1990 conference finals.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 11, 2021
Two story lines dominated the Bruins-Capitals regular-season meetings this year. The first involved Zdeno Chara playing as an opponent of the Bruins for the first time since April of 2006. The former Bruins captain notched one of his two goals on the year against the Bruins, averaging over 18 minutes of ice time with an even rating in six games played.
The other major story line involved Tom Wilson delivering a hit to the head of Brandon Carlo. The hit resulted in a seven-game suspension for the controversial Capitals winger, and it left Carlo out of the lineup for almost a month, as he dealt with a concussion. Wilson fought two Bruins — Jarred Tinordi and Trent Frederic — that night.