The Bruins head to our nation’s capital on Wednesday night to take on Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps for the first time this season. Things have been tipping Boston’s way lately, as the Bruins have won three straight games after defeating the Florida Panthers in dramatic fashion on Monday.
The Bruins have seen some solid goaltending from Tuukka Rask this season, and all signs point toward him getting the nod against another one of the league’s top goaltenders, Braden Holtby. Holtby made his presence known to the Bruins back in 2012 with a brilliant quarterfinals playoff performance. Holtby gave up just one goal in five of the seven games en route to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
The Bruins will look for the hot hands of David Pastrnak and David Backes to break through Holtby, who has had tremendous success against Boston in his career.
The Capitals and the Bruins each have 31 points headed into Wednesday’s clash, although the playoff format has favored the Bruins. Boston’s 31 points are enough to qualify for the third spot in the Atlantic Division, while the Caps sit at fifth in the Metropolitan despite having just as many points.
A win for Boston could propel them into second place in the Atlantic, while a Caps victory could place them ahead of the Flyers for the top wildcard spot.
Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals
Verizon Center – 8 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – NBSCN
2016-17 Season Series: first game
Washington Capitals – 14-7-3 – 31 Points
Home Record: 9-4-0
Hot Players: Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Ovechkin, Marcus Johansson
Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Justin Williams
Andre Burakovsky – Lars Eller – Jakub Vrana
Daniel Winnik – Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson
Dmitry Orlov – Matt Niskanen
Karl Alzner – John Carlson
Brooks Orpik – Nate Schmidt
Boston Bruins– 15-10-1 – 31 Points
Road Record: 8-5-1
Hot Players: David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, David Backes
Key Injuries: Matt Beleskey, John-Michael Liles
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Tim Schaller – David Krejci – David Backes
Ryan Spooner – Riley Nash – Austin Czarnik
Anton Blidh – Dominic Moore – Jimmy Hayes
Zdeno Chara – Branson Carlo
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller – Colin Miller
1) Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie is expected to return tonight after missing seven games with a shoulder injury. Oshie has notched 12 points in 17 games this season. In games without Oshie, the Caps went 3-3-1.“He’s been missed a lot in the atmosphere in the locker room.” said Washington captain Alex Ovechkin,
“He’s been missed a lot in the atmosphere in the locker room,” said Washington captain Alex Ovechkin, per the Washington Post. “You know, when we was on the road, he’s texting us. He’s a big part of our group, one of the leaders and a great teammate. It’s nice to have him back. He’s a big part of our success.”
2) Boston is currently touting a season-high five-game point streak heading into Wednesday’s clash, having earned nine out of their last ten possible points.
3) David Pastrnak continued his hot streak on Monday, scoring two goals including the overtime winner against Florida. Pastrnak now has tallied five points in his last five games and is averaging a point per game for the B’s this season.
4) Rask is expected to get the start tonight and will look to carry his momentum into the game against a team that has had his number throughout his career. In thirteen games against the Caps, Rask is 1-8-4, with a .899 save percentage and a 2.92 save percentage.
5) Braden Holtby has dominated the Bruins throughout his career. In 11 regular-season games against the B’s, Holtby is 9-2-0 with a .952 save percentage and a 1.57 goals against average.