Originally written on Rock the Red  |  Last updated 11/16/14

As you know by now, the Washington Capitals have drawn the defending Stanley Cup Champions in the first round of this year’s playoffs.  It’s a very tough matchup for the Capitals, both because of their continued playoff demons and because of the quality of the team across the rink from them.  Read on for my take on this series, broken down piece by piece.

Forwards: The Bruins have a fearsome corps of forwards, constructed with playoff hockey in mind.  No team in the NHL except Pittsburgh has the depth at center that the Bruins do, and their top line of Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron is smart and possesses the puck extremely well.  They don’t have the star power that the Caps’ top line does, but it’s still a very good top unit.  David Krejci, who led last year’s playoffs in goals, centers the second line with Jordan Caron and tough guy Milan Lucic.  Rich Peverley, one of the most underrated acquisitions for any playoff team in recent memory, is a very good two-way forward who is fast, offensively skilled, and responsible defensively; he is the straw the stirs the Bruins’ drink.  He drives their third line along with Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot, which gives you an idea of just how deep the Bruins are up front.  Daniel Paille, Greg Campbell, and Shawn Thornton make up one of the NHL’s best fourth lines, too.  Also of note is that the Bruins are the NHL’s best faceoff team, in the NHL, winning 54.5% of all draws, while the Caps are 17th, winning an even 50%.  Washington has firepower, namely Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alexander Semin, but Boston’s three scoring lines and crazy depth give them the clear advantage here.

READ MORE ABOUT THE MATCHUP HERE.

Defense: Led by Zdeno Chara, the Bruins have a big, strong, mean group of defensemen that block shots and control the space in front of their net very well.  Chara, their captain is their only real stud, but he’s a matchup nightmare and arguably the best defenseman in the NHL.  Dennis Seidenberg is also a very solid two way guy.  Other than Joe Corvo, who has been a healthy scratch lately anyway, the Bruins don’t have any other puck moving defensemen; Andrew Ference, Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid, and Greg Zanon all shore up the fort as stay at home players.  As you know, the Capitals have some excellent puck movers in their defense, including Mike Green, Dmitry Orlov, John Carlson, and Dennis Wideman.  However, they haven’t been producing lately, and I worry about their ability to control Boston’s fast forwards for an entire series.  Karl Alzner is their best stay at home defenseman, and he’s better than Seidenberg on that front but nowhere near as good as Chara.  Nobody is, really.  I give the Bruins a slight edge here because of Chara and their defensive defensemen.

Goaltending: On one side, you have a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, and the holder of the modern day record for save percentage in a season.  On the other, as far as we know, you have Braden Holtby, he who has 21 total games of NHL experience.  Holtby was very good in the season finally, but, I, uh…yeah.  The Boston Bruins hold the firm advantage here.

Coaching: Claude Julien, the Bruins coach, is one of the very best the NHL has to offer.  He has won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year, has a Stanley Cup ring, and it was his genius that helped the Bruins crack Guy Boucher and the Lightning’s maddening 1-3-1 forecheck in last year’s Eastern Conference Final.  He’s experienced, smart, and knows how to get the best of his players.  Behind the Caps’ bench, you have a rookie coach who was in the Ontario Hockey League before this season and is still having trouble getting his players to adapt to his system.  I’m going to make it four out of four and give the Bruins the edge here by a significant margin.

This is a very tough matchup for the Capitals, and they know it.  The Bruins are big, strong, deep, and they want to repeat badly.  It’s going to be a fun series, but it’s also going to be very, very tough on the Caps, despite their success against the Bruins in the regular season this year.

Harry Hawkings is a college student who is credentialed to cover the Capitals for RtR.  Follow him on Twitter here.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron's triple-double leads Cavs to win in OT thriller

Report: Adrian Peterson will skip Vikings first OTAs

Corey Brewer: We got our butt kicked, it was embarrassing

Brian Kelly hints Notre Dame will have fast offense

John Madden: Last play of Super Bowl will 'torment' Pete Carroll

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Cristiano Ronaldo nets hat trick, sets career high for goals

WATCH: Cormier tells Jones to get his s-- together

Fans holding 'Free Tom Brady Rally' at Gillette Stadium

Josh Hamilton to be activated by Rangers

WATCH: Top CB recruit makes insane catch doing backflip

Biggest surprises of the MLB season

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

Federer unhappy with security after fan comes on court

WATCH: LeBron throws down ferocious dunk in traffic

WATCH: Al Horford ejected for elbowing Matthew Dellavedova

Seahawks fan starts GoFundMe for Russell Wilson's contract

Billy Donovan thanks Florida fans with full-page ad

WATCH: Daniel Cormier gets into it with Ryan Bader

Jim Harbaugh compares his driving to Jeff Gordon's

WATCH: High school seals win with perfect hidden ball trick

Warriors crush Rockets in Houston to take 3-0 series lead

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell whiffs on horrible golf swing

Brian Matusz ejected for having foreign substance on arm

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

WATCH: LeBron's ferocious dunk in traffic

Kelly drops hint about ND offense

John Madden: Last SB play will 'torment' Carroll

Eight biggest surprises of the MLB season

Bryan Price ejected before first pitch

Vin Scully narrates marriage proposal

Pats fan's obituary defends Brady

Marlins players skip own charity event

John Wall tells All-NBA Team voters to ‘keep sleeping’

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.