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Expert predictions for Bruins vs. Capitals first-round series originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Bruins were the NHL’s hottest team after the trade deadline with a 12-4-1 record to close the regular season, and many experts believe the Original Six franchise will carry that momentum into the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The B’s postseason run begins Saturday night in Washington with Game 1 of their first-round series versus the Capitals.

Even though the Capitals have home ice advantage in this series as the No. 2 seed playing the No. 3 seed, most experts, and even oddsmakers, favor the Bruins to emerge victorious.

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A few factors working against the Capitals are injuries, players in COVID protocols and inexperience at the goaltender position. The B’s have flaws, too, but their roster is mostly healthy and the trade deadline additions of Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar and Mike Reilly have significantly improved the talent and depth on the roster.

Boston was among the worst 5-on-5 scoring teams before the trade deadline. But after the deadline, the B’s ranked No. 2 in 5-on-5 goals. The Bruins also had a slight edge in the eight-game season series, posting a 4-1-2 record through the first seven games before losing 2-1 in Tuesday’s finale with a lineup comprised of mostly AHL players.

Which team will advance to the second round? Spoiler alert: Not many people are picking the Capitals. So, if Alexander Ovechkin and his teammates are looking for bulletin board material, they won’t have to search long to find some.

Here’s a roundup of expert predictions for the Bruins vs. Capitals Round 1 series:

Nick Goss, NBC Sports Boston: Bruins in six

Marisa Ingemi, NBC’s ProHockeyTalk: Bruins in six

Andrew Raycroft, NESN: Bruins in six

Emily Kaplan, Capitals in seven

Tom Gulitti, Bruins

Tracey Myers, Bruins

Tim Campbell, Capitals

Jeff Marek, Sportsnet: Bruins

Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet: Bruins

Matt Larkin, The Hockey News: Bruins in five

Scott McLaughlin, Bruins in five

Anonymous exec, scout, coach (via The Athletic): Bruins