Game Preview: Bruins @ Capitals

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The Capitals (14-7-3) and Bruins (15-10-1) faceoff for the first time this season, Wednesday night at Verizon Center. The game is NBC’s “Wednesday Night Rivalry” game of the week, with the puck dropping at an annoying 8:00PM. 

BOSTON
The Bruins will be riding a three-game winning streak into Verizon  Center Wednesday, looking to jump ahead of the Capitals in the Eastern Conference standings. The Capitals and Bruins have both tallied 31 standings points so far this season.

The Bruins beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 in overtime Monday night in Boston. David Pastrnak scored the stylistic game winner:

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The 20-year-old Pastrnak leads the Bruins squad with 15 goals so far this season, including two goals in their last outing against Florida. You can review complete stats for the Bruins roster here:

Special Teams:
The Bruins power play is struggling more than the Capitals, currently 27th in the league, with a 13.8% conversion rate. On the flip side, Boston’s penalty kill is clicking on all cylinders, currently ranked third in the NHL with an 86.4% success rate, for a combined special teams index of 100.2.

Shots Fired:
Boston is tossing plenty of rubber at the net so far this season, currently ranked second in the league with an average of 33.2 shots per game. However, the impressive shot rate is not carrying over to goals scored, as the Bruins are currently ranked 23rd in the league with a 2.35 goals/game average.

Other Notes:
Tuukka Rask looks to get the start against the Capitals. Rask is having a pretty good season to this point, going 14-4 with a 1.68 GAA through 19 games.

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WASHINGTON
The Capitals are currently sitting 4th in the Metropolitan Division, just three points behind third place Columbus, and four points behind the first place New York Rangers. Both Washington and Columbus have two games “in-hand” to Pittsburgh and New York.

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Washington rallied to snap a three game losing streak on Monday night, edging Buffalo 3-2 in overtime.

Marcus Johansson scored two goals, including the overtime winner to give the Capitals the 3-2 win.

Special Teams:
captureWashington’s power play finally got off the proverbial “”schneid” on Monday night, notching its first power play goal in three games. The Capitals power play is currently ranked 23rd in the league at a 15.2% conversion rate.

The Capitals penalty kill also continues to improve, and is currently ranked 14th in the NHL with an 83.1% success rate, for a combined special teams index of 98.3.

Shots Fired:
The Capitals are currently ranked 9th in the league in shots/game played with an average of 30.9 shots/game average. The Capitals are currently ranked 16th in the league goals scored per game, with an average of 2.54 goals per game.

THE MATCHUP
TJ Oshie participated in full-contact practice on Tuesday and felt fine. All indications are that Oshie could return to the lineup against the Bruins. Andre Burakovsky may be sitting out the game against the Bruins. Indications from Tuesday’s practice point towards Burakovsky being a healthy scratch.

 

On Monday, Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced that forward Matt Beleskey is expected to miss approximately six weeks with a right knee injury, which he suffered during the team’s 2-1 win at Buffalo on Saturday, December 3.

Washington won the season series last year against Boston going 3-0-0, and has won six consecutive games against the Bruins. Washington won its only home game against Boston last season 4-1 on November 5th, 2015 at Verizon Center.  This is the first of three meetings between the teams this season.

Series Flashback:
“The King is Dead”

SHAVINGS

GAME LINKS
Alex Ovechkin needs to think outside penalty box (NHL)
T.J. Oshie (shoulder injury) appears likely to play against Boston Bruins (WaPo)
POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Caps 3, Sabres 2 (OT) (Mike Vogel)
After Brief Slump, Capitals Power Play Showing Signs of Life (CSN/J.J. Regan)
Game Notes vs. Boston, 12/7/16 (Capitals PR)
Caps Entertain Bruins (Mike Vogel)

THIS DATE IN CAPS HISTORY

 

By Jon Sorensen

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About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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