The Washington Capitals are in Boston to battle the Bruins at TD Garden for the second and final time this season. Washington won the first game 3-2 on November 4. The game marks the first of two meetings between the Capitals and Bruins in a span of two weeks. Washington will host the Bruins for their lone visit to the nation’s capital in exactly two weeks time.
The Capitals were off on Wednesday after defeating the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Tuesday night. The team played a strong game and made a nice bounce back following a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Monday night. Evgeny Kuznetsov had a 3-assist game and the Capitals got goals from five different scorers (including two blueliners) in an all-around team win. Braden Holtby made 22 saves on 24 shots after giving up 3 goals on 12 shots at Barclays Center on Monday.
The Capitals have won their previous ten contests against the Bruins, outscoring Boston 33-13 in that span. Braden Holtby, who gets the start tonight, has a 7-0-0 record with a 1.56 goals against average and a .949 save percentage in his past seven outings against Boston. The Capitals have won 5 straight and 6 out of 7 at TD Garden. The Capitals are also 9-3-0 in their last 12 games. This season, Holtby is 17-7-0 with 2.64 goals against average and a .918 save percentage
T.J. Oshie, who has missed the past five games with an upper-body injury, will not travel to Boston with the team but he could be ready for practice when the Capitals come home and could potentially play against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
Like the Capitals, the Bruins are red-hot, winning three straight and 9 of their last 11. That propelled them into third place in the Atlantic Division but they are still seven points short of the second place Maple Leafs with four games in hand on Toronto.
The Bruins just returned from Detroit, where they faced the Red Wings last night. Detroit took 1-0 and 2-1 leads on the Bruins, but winger David Pastrnak tied the game with 1:26 left in regulation to send the game to overtime. Brad Marchand ended the game just 35 seconds into overtime with his 12th goal of the season. Noel Acciari also scored for the Bruins and Tuukka Rask made 31 saves on 33 shots for the win.
The Bruins kick off a three-game homestand tonight against the Capitals. Following Thursday night’s tilt against the Caps, Boston hosts the New York Rangers on Saturday and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.
Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara will suit up in his 1399th NHL game tonight; he has 3 goals, 8 points, and a +11 rating in 28 games this season. David Pastrnak is riding an 8-game point streak, and he has totaled 4 goals and 10 points in that span.
The Bruins’ 10-game winless streak against the Capitals is their longest losing streak against any opponent. They last beat the Capitals on March 29, 2014, at Verizon Center and their last home win against the Capitals was March 6, 2014.
Anton Khudobin will likely get the start for the Bruins after Tuukka Rask started in Detroit last night. He is 7-1-2 this season with a .922 save percentage and a 2.53 goals against average. Lifetime against Washington, he is 4-3-1 with a .919 save percentage and a 2.59 goals against average.
–Nicklas Backstrom has 6 goals and 35 points in 32 career games against the Bruins, including points in 9 out of his last 10 against Boston (2 goals, 14 points). The Capitals are 19-0-0 lifetime when Backstrom gets a point against Boston.
-The Capitals have killed all 18 penalties they faced in the past eight games and have killed off 25 out of their last 26 penalties against.
A Look Back in Time
Alex Ovechkin recorded two goals for his 800th career point. Joel Ward and Eric Fehr also scored for the Capitals. The Capitals took a 3-0 lead over Boston but Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell both scored to cut the Capitals’ lead to one. The Capitals would ultimately hang on to beat the Bruins 4-2 at TD Garden. Braden Holtby made 36 saves on 38 shots to backstop the Capitals’ win on March 1, 2014.
By Harrison Brown