Craig Smith's OT Goal Lifts Bruins Past Alex Ovechkin, Capitals for Game 3 Win

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 20, 2021

BOSTON, MA - MAY 19:  Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals fights for the puck with Charlie McAvoy #73 of the Boston Bruins in Game Three of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 19, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

After heading to overtime for the third game in a row, the Boston Bruins are the leaders in their first-round playoff series with the Washington Capitals, defeating East Division runner-ups for the second consecutive game to take a 2-1 advantage. 

Boston won 3-2 on home ice on Wednesday thanks to a double-overtime winner from Craig Smith. 

Sportsnet @Sportsnet

CRAIG SMITH ENDS IT IN DOUBLE OT 🚨<br><br>The @NHLBruins take a 2-1 series lead! #ItsOn pic.twitter.com/mAWiTniCYV

For the Capitals, who are trailing in the series after winning the first game in overtime, Alex Ovechkin and Nic Dowd both scored.

Notable Performers

  • Craig Smith, Bruins: 1 goal, 1 assists, +2, 4 SOG
  • Alex Ovechkin, Capitals: 1 goal, 4 SOG
  • Taylor Hall, Bruins: 1 goal, +2, 2 SOG
  • Tuukka Rask, Bruins: 35-of-37 saves
  • Ilya Samsonov, Capitals: 40-of-43 saves

Taylor Hall Handles Early Issues for Bruins 

The Bruins had the shot advantage in the first period, putting 10 pucks on net compared to just four from Washington. But the Washington offense that was so relentless earlier games came back in the second period, scoring first with an Alex Ovechkin point with 8:21 gone. 

Less than a minute later, Taylor Hall was the savior yet again for Boston, scoring the equalizer a game after he forced overtime. 

NHL on NBC Sports @NHLonNBCSports

Taylor Hall likes it in Boston. 🚨#NHLBruins pic.twitter.com/VvUJTbhmvh

Scott McLaughlin @smclaughlin9

Hearing reports that Bruins fans love Taylor Hall. Working to confirm

The Bruins had the advantage in the first period, when they found themselves on either side of the power play on three separate occasions but continued to dominate no matter how many men were on the ice.

Scott McLaughlin @smclaughlin9

There was only 8:43 played at 5-on-5 in the first, but shot attempts were 8-2 Bruins during that time. https://t.co/TZFIpN1pgV

Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL

Each team went 0-for-3 on the power play in the first period.<br><br>Bruins had 6 shots on goal on the PP.<br><br>Capitals had 2 shots on goal on the PP.

But they slugged through the second, when they found themselves shorthanded twice.. They were outshot 16-11 in the frame, allowing the Capitals to go up initially on a power play goal. 

The separation in the third was even more notable: 

Matt Porter @mattyports

Capitals outshot Bruins, 8-0, at 5 on 5 in the third.

In the first overtime period, the Bruins outshot Washington 17-5 but couldn't capitalize. 

Even at full strength, a lack of aggression seemed to be at the heart of the trouble for the Bruins after a fast first. 

Joe Haggerty @HackswithHaggs

Both Charlie Coyle and David Pastrnak looked like they didn't want to get hit on that play that led to the Capitals goal. Tough to beat Washington playing that way

The Bruins got back on the power play on two separate instances early in the third, and they finally capitalized on the second to tie it up thanks to Brad Marchand.

Boston Bruins @NHLBruins

63 with the equalizer.#NHLBruins | @Bmarch63 pic.twitter.com/65jJXTk5mH

But Boston has struggled with their power play throughout the series, having entered Wednesday scoring one goal through six chances.

Failing to convert four more against a third-string goaltender in Game 3 was a mark of the struggle for a team that finished the regular season with the No. 10 power play percentage in the league at 21.9 percent

With Hall proving himself to be a major trade deadline pickup, it might be time for the Bruins to try him out on the top power play unit and see if it will make a difference in must-score moments. 

Samsonov Stands Strong for Washington

Capitals backup goaltender Craig Anderson starred in Game 1, making 21 saves after starter Vitek Vanecek suffered a lower-body injury. After he allowed two quick goals in Game 2, he settled in, making 44 saves en route to a 4-3 overtime loss. But he didn't start in Game 3, with Washington looking to Ilya Samsonov to keep them from going down in the series.

It was certainly a unique decision when you're contending for dominance in a playoff series.

Nicholas W. Goss @NickGossNBCSB

Ilya Samsonov, not Craig Anderson, led the Capitals out for warmups. Samsonov has a .860 career SV% in three games against the Bruins. He also has zero playoff experience. pic.twitter.com/1FndsMxrGb

Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL

What Samsonov is doing tonight might be harder than what Anderson did in Game 1.

Anderson was out due to body maintenance, per Samantha Pell of the Washington Post. Center Lars Eller, who was tabbed with an assist in Game 2, was also out with a lower-body injury. 

He kept the Capitals out of trouble in the first period, making 10 saves and surviving a five-on-three situation, though he had some help from his defense. 

Washington Capitals @Capitals

every inch counts! pic.twitter.com/llayYqrs4m

Washington Capitals @Capitals

🚫SH pic.twitter.com/3F3CuHZQM6

Boston managed to get the best of him right after hope momentarily left TD Garden as Ovechkin found the net.

Washington Capitals @Capitals

THAT'S OUR CAPTAIN! pic.twitter.com/ng5eHrH7Tz

Garnet Hathaway had his day in Game 2, when he had a pair of goals, but Game 3's hero (briefly) was his linemate, Nic Dowd, who deflected the go-ahead late in the second period. 

Washington Capitals @Capitals

You simply cannot find a hotter line pic.twitter.com/69lYpPkSFG

The depth from that fourth line has been part of the difference that has helped the Capitals succeed even with three different netminders through as many games. 

What's Next? 

Game 4 is in Boston on Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET.