BOSTON – David Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle scored 34 seconds apart to break the game open early in the third period, and Tuukka Rask stopped 19 shots to lead Boston to a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Friday night and give the Bruins a 3-1 lead in their first-round East Division playoff series.
After three straight overtime games in which neither team managed as much as a two-goal lead, the Bruins made it 2-0 on Pastrnak’s power-play goal 29 seconds into the third. The 25% capacity crowd had barely settled down before Jake DeBrusk’s shot bounced high off the glass behind Ilya Samsonov and landed in the crease for Coyle to poke it into the net.
Behind the play, oft-suspended Capitals forward Tom Wilson put a few extra shots on Boston’s Nick Ritchie, and the rest of the Bruins cut short their celebration to go help out — one of many scuffles in the game.
Alex Ovechkin made it 3-1 with 15 minutes left in the game when his shot was deflected into the net by Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo. It was Ovechkin’s first goal of the 2021 playoffs and the 71st of his postseason career, moving him past Steve Yzerman and into a tie with Bryan Trottier for 16th most in NHL history.
But Matt Grzelcyk restored the three-goal lead on a power-play goal — Boston's third of the game — with five minutes left. Brad Marchand also scored for Boston, which will have a chance to eliminate the Capitals in Game 5 in Washington on Sunday.
The victory was the 54th in the playoffs for Rask, breaking the Bruins franchise record that was set by Hall of Famer Gerry Cheevers in 1980.
Samsonov, whose overtime turnover in his playoff debut helped Boston claim Game 3, made 33 saves for Washington. He struggled to hold onto his stick — losing it three times in the second period — and had to skate off a knee injury at one point but remained in the game.
Samsonov was pulled for much of the last three minutes, but the Capitals couldn't get any closer despite having a 6-on-4 advantage for much of it.
The Capitals went almost 20 minutes without a shot on goal in the middle of the game and were outshot 37-20 in all. But it was still scoreless until Marchand tipped in Pastrnak's shot on the power play with 12 minutes left in the second.
Kevan Miller left the game after a high hit from Dmitry Orlov; Miller appeared to bang his head against the ice when he fell. Orlov was given a double minor for roughing, and the Bruins finally broke through just 33 seconds into the penalty.
The Bruins announced after the end of the period that Miller would not return and was taken to the hospital for “scans and evaluation.”
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