NHL playoffs: Projected lines, pairings for Bruins-Capitals Game 1

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Projected lines, pairings for Bruins vs. Capitals Game 1 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals will kick off the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs with Game 1 of their first-round series Saturday night at Capital One Arena.

It's the first time these teams have met in the playoffs since the Capitals eliminated the defending champion Bruins from the 2012 playoffs with a Game 7 overtime win in Boston.

The B's dealt with a lot of injuries this season, but fortunately for them, they go into Game 1 with a close to optimal lineup health-wise. The Capitals have a few players who've been banged up of late, including Alexander Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie. Both players were on the ice for Saturday's morning skate, though.

Bruins vs. Capitals first-round playoff preview and prediction

Two notable players were not on the ice for the Capitals, according to Samantha Pell of the Washington Post:

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Evgeny Kuznetsov is a very good offensive player, and his absence from the series opener wouldn't be insignificant.

The goalie situation for Washington also is a bit unknown. Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette has not yet announced a starting goalie for Game 1, and he might not do so until the team is forced to submit its official lineup closer to puck drop.

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Vitek Vanecek is the best option for the Capitals in net, but he has zero postseason experience. Veteran backup Craig Anderson might be a safer pick. However, Pell noted that Vanecek was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate, which typically indicates he'll be the starter.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for Game 1 between the Bruins and Capitals

BOSTON BRUINS

FORWARDS

Brad Marchand--Patrice Bergeron--David Pastrnak

Taylor Hall--David Krejci--Craig Smith

Nick Ritchie--Sean Kuraly--Charlie Coyle

Jake DeBrusk--Curtis Lazar--Chris Wagner

DEFENSEMEN

Matt Grzelcyk--Charlie McAvoy

Mike Reilly--Brandon Carlo

Jeremy Lauzon--Kevan Miller

GOALIES

Tuukka Rask (starter), Jeremy Swayman (backup)

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

FORWARDS

Alexander Ovechkin--Nicklas Backstrom--Anthony Mantha

Conor Sheary--Lars Eller--Michael Raffl

Daniel Sprong--T.J. Oshie--Tom Wilson

Carl Hagelin--Nic Dowd--Garnet Hathaway

DEFENSEMEN

Dmitry Orlov--John Carlson

Brenden Dillon--Justin Schultz

Zdeno Chara--Nick Jensen

GOALIES

Vitek Vanecek (starter), Craig Anderson (backup)