The National Hockey League announced the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round Series between the No. 3 seed Boston Bruins and No. 2 seed Washington Capitals will be hosted by the Capitals on Saturday, May 15 at 7:15pm. Game 1 of the best-of-seven series between the Mass Mutual East Division rivals will be broadcast on NBC in the United States. The complete 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule will be announced shortly. Coach Bruce Cassidy chose to keep the majority of the team’s regular roster off the ice for the final regular season game Tuesday versus the Capitals. Washington on the other hand played most of their starters, but were also able to welcome back to their roster, captain Alexander Ovechkin, who had missed all but one of the Caps last eight games, suffering from a lower-body injury. Despite Boston’s 2-1 loss to the Caps in Tuesday’s regular season finale with Jeremy Swayman in net, coach Cassidy was quick to name Swayman to be the backup goaltender to Tuukka Rask in Saturday night’s Stanley Cup Playoffs opener against these same Capitals. The Boston vs. Washington matchup contains the following – on home ice Boston is 18-7-3, and Washington is 17-8-3. On the road Boston’s record is 15-9-4 while Washington is 19-7-4. Bruins’ goaltending records stand at: Rask 15-5-2 with two shutouts – a goals-against-average of 2.28 with a save percentage of .913, the rookie Swayman’s stats are: 7-3-0 with two shutouts – a goals-against-average of 1.50 with a save percentage of .945. Both impressive marks, which will need to be maintained, in order to best Washington in this first divisional round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Scheduling for the playoffs will continue to be incomplete for a while, as the regular season, which was scheduled to end May 8, has been hit with multiple reschedules due to Covid-19. As a result, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daley explained: The Central Division completed their regular season on Monday, while the East Division finished on Tuesday, and the West Division is expected to wrap up their games today (Thursday). The North Division (Canadian teams) will still have a few regular season games remaining, with the possibility that their schedule may not be completed before Wednesday, May 19. The oddity there is that the trio of US-based divisions may have already begun their playoffs before the North Division has completed their regular season.
The four top teams in each of the four divisions make it to the playoffs. Those teams include: East Division: 1) Pittsburgh, 2) Washington, 3) Boston, and 4) NY Islanders. Central Division: 1) Carolina, 2) Florida, 3) Tampa Bay, and 4) Nashville. West Division: 1) Vegas, 2) Colorado, 3) Minnesota, and 4) St. Louis. North Division: 1) Toronto, 2) Edmonton, 3) Winnipeg, and 4) Montreal. The first two rounds will be played within each division to determine a winner to move further into the playoffs.