Dowd scores OT winner as Capitals take Game 1 against Bruins
Washington goalie Craig Anderson picks up win in 1st playoff appearance since 2017
T.J. Oshie's goal song, John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads," echoed through Capital One Arena and its 25% capacity crowd. It turned out the credit technically belonged elsewhere, but Capitals fans were in no mood to nitpick.
The Capitals weathered the loss of starting goaltender Vitek Vanecek to a lower-body injury early on, with backup Craig Anderson making 21 saves and allowing only a power-play goal.
As four Capitals players entered the offensive zone, Tom Wilson shuttled a pass back to Oshie, who blasted a one-timer on net. Dowd extended his stick for the deflection, and soon the puck trickled through Tuukka Rask's leg pads and over the line.
gonna watch this on repeat for a bit if y'all don't mind...<br><br>feel free to join us <a href="https://t.co/7yLrxNHLqx">pic.twitter.com/7yLrxNHLqx</a>—@Capitals
"I think you just got to read the play," Dowd said. "You have the opportunity to join the rush, you join the rush and, you know, you make a play and we were fortunate enough to do that."
A challenge initiated by the NHL Situation Room investigated whether the Capitals entered the zone on-side, but the video supported the call on the ice.
WATCH | Tom Wilson opens scoring for Capitals:
Tom Wilson and Brenden Dillon also scored for the Capitals. Daniel Sprong and Anthony Mantha, making their playoff debuts, each had an assist.
Jake DeBrusk and Nick Ritchie scored for Boston, and Tuukka Rask made 29 saves.
Wilson opened the scoring 6:22 into the game. Boston's Charlie McAvoy broke his stick on a shot attempt, leading to a 3-on-2 Washington breakaway with Oshie at the center of it. After a few quick passes, Wilson roofed it over Rask's far shoulder.
The Bruins answered with 6:50 left in the period when Curtis Lazar won an offensive-zone faceoff and chopped the puck behind him to DeBrusk for a wrister that evaded Vanecek's lunge to the right.
Vanecek hurt himself on the play and Anderson, who turns 40 on Friday, replaced him. He had not played a postseason game since 2017 and saw action in just four regular-season games for Washington.
"Tough spot, I think, to put somebody in, but Andy's answered the bell — really his whole career, but he's answered it for us when we needed him," Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. "He truly epitomizes the concept of working hard every day so that when you get your opportunity you're ready, and that's exactly what he did."'
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Anderson joked that he was well-rested from having played so little during the season.
"I think opportunity knocks, you make the most of your opportunity," Anderson said. "I've been here before, so I can share my experiences with Vitek and [goalie Ilya Samsonov] and to now get the opportunity to live what I've been telling them, it's a great feeling to kind of be involved and be a part of it.
The crowd at Capital One Arena thought Alex Ovechkin put the Capitals ahead in the second period with a deflection goal off Dillon's point shot. Instead the goal was credited to Dillon after replay showed the puck bounced through traffic and off a Boston stick, but not off Ovechkin's.
Normally a right wing, Oshie played out of position as Washington's third-line center, with Evgeny Kuznetsov out due to COVID-19 protocols. The lineup decision paid off as he cashed in with two assists.
Oshie returned from a lower-body injury he sustained May 8 that caused him to miss the Capitals' regular-season finale. He left the bench briefly during the first period before returning to the game.
Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara faced the Bruins in a playoff game for the first time after spending 14 years as Boston's captain. Chara finished with one shot and three hits.
Also, former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall made his Bruins playoff debut a month after joining them as a trade-deadline acquisition from Buffalo. The second-line left wing had two shots in 17:49 of ice time.
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