After a poor 4-game road trip that spanned across 4 time zones, the Capitals return home briefly for 2 straight games before the new year begins. The Capitals (22-13-3) only took 4 out of 8 points on their recent road trip, so they will look to get back on track at home versus 2 Eastern Conference foes. On Thursday evening, the Capitals will face the surging Boston Bruins (20-10-5), who have they handled well in recent years. Puck drop is at 7:30 ET on NBC Sports Network.
The Bruins are one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now. They have won 5 straight games, including a big 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators last night. The Bruins recent winning streak has propelled them into 2nd place in the Atlantic Division race. The Bruins appearance in Washington is the beginning of a 3-game road trip for them.
David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand are the 2 skaters to look out for with the Bruins. Both lead the club with 15 goals. Pastrnak leads all Bruins skaters with 33 points.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask was named the NHL’s 1st star of the week last week, as he posted a 3-0 record, a 1.30 goals against average, and .954 save percentage. Despite Tuukka Rask’s excellent play over the last couple of weeks, Anton Khudobin is expected to get the start in goal against the Capitals.
Right back at it with an optional pregame skate here in Washington.
Per Bruce Cassidy, the only lineup change tonight is in goal with Anton Khudobin getting the start. pic.twitter.com/uuUjvZPJIj
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 28, 2017
The Capitals are in a bit of a scoring drought. They have not scored a goal since the 3rd period of the Arizona game last Friday night.
Philipp Grubauer played an outstanding hockey game against the New York Rangers an evening ago. He is the major reason why the Capitals even earned a point in the standings. The Capitals recent offensive struggles are also stemming from a powerplay that has been powerless for a little while. The powerplay is 1 for 22 in the last 9 games, and it has fallen to 18th best in the NHL.
The Capitals were without Chandler Stephenson last night due to the flu, but it appears that he could return to the lineup tonight. If Stephenson does return, expect Devante Smith-Pelly or Alex Chiasson to sit.
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨️🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) December 28, 2017
A LOOK BACK IN TIME
Two weeks ago today, the Capitals traveled to Boston and they defeated the Bruins 5-3 at TD Garden. Alex Chiasson recorded two shorthanded goals in the game, including a beautiful short-handed goal. It was the Capitals 11th straight win against the Bruins.
By: George Foussekis