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Bruins vs. Capitals 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 1 prediction, odds, pick, and more

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The 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are here, which means the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals are all set to begin what should be a high-octane first-round series. Check out the latest NHL odds for this game plus our Bruins Capitals prediction and pick.

The Bruins-Capitals split their eight matchups in the regular season, with Washington tying it all up in the finale. This first-round series in the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs will also see Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara going up against the team he’s played for several years before signing with Washington.
NHL Odds: Bruins-Capitals Odds
Boston Bruins -129
Washington Capitals +117
Over 5.5 goals (+107)
Under 5.5 goals (-118)
Why The Bruins Could Cover The Spread
The Bruins enter the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs not exactly in the rosiest of forms, as they have alternated wins and losses in their last five games. In the last one, they fell to the Caps on the road, 2-1, on Tuesday, though that’s hardly a game that you could put much weight on. Boston opted to sit out its top line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand for rest purposes.
That same line is expected to give Washington’s blueline major headaches in the series, beginning this Saturday. Those three have found the back of the net a total of 13 times in seven meetings with the Caps in the regular season, with Marchand burying seven of those. It’s also a good sign for Boston that it’s one of the best possession teams in the NHL this season, as it ended the regular season third in Corsi percentage. However, the Bruins’ special teams need to step up in what’s expected to be a highly physical series.
Their power play sputtered mightily against Washington’s penalty kill in the regular season, going just  3 of 24 on the man advantage. If anything, the Bruins are 4-0 in their last four games after netting just no more than a pair of goals in the previous contest.
Why The Capitals Could Cover The Spread
Are the Capitals healthy enough? That’s the biggest question swirling around Alex Ovechkin and company heading into the first-round date with Boston. Ovi, T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, and Tom Wilson have all missed games down the stretch of the regular season due to various injuries.
Ovechkin and Backstrom have at least appeared in the regular-season finale win over Boston, while Oshie has yet to play since May 8’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at home. With the Caps also missing Evgeny Kuztensov, the team could insert Anthony Mantha to the top line and allow him to play alongside Ovechkin and Backstrom. Mantha is getting his first taste of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but so far in Caps threads, he’s been showing out well.
The former Detroit Red Wings forward has eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 14 games since getting traded to Washington. The Caps are sixth in the NHL with 3.36 goals for per game with a lethal power play that connected 24.8% of its chances. The Bruins know all about that despite being among the elite penalty-killing teams, as the Caps scored nine power play goals in 25 opportunities against the Bruins.
Final Bruins-Capitals Prediction & Pick
The Caps’ health is a significant factor in Game 1. They just don’t look healthy as of the moment, but Mantha is going to balance things out for Washington. Between him and Taylor Hall, I expect Mantha to be the trade-deadline addition that will put up a better performance in the series opener. For our Bruins Capitals prediction, we’re taking the Capitals to win and cover the puckline.
FINAL PICK: Washington Capitals (+117).

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