The Washington Capitals are in need of some spark, especially after they snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-2 overtime win over Buffalo Monday.
Squaring off with the Bruins for the first time this season, the Capitals have a chance to tie Philadelphia for fourth in the Metropolitan Division and rediscover their winning ways.
Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals
Verizon Center- 7 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – NBCSN, TVAS
2015-16 Season Series:
November 5- Capitals 4 – Bruins 1
January 5- Capitals 3 – Bruins 2
March 5 – Capitals 2 – Bruins 1 (OTW)
Washington Capitals – 14-7-3, 31 Points
Home Record: 9-4-0
Hot Players: Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson
Key Injuries: None (T.J. Oshie returning)
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
Away Record: 8-5-1
Hot Players: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci
Key Injuries: Matt Beleskey, John Michael-Liles, Frank Vatrano
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Tim Schiller-David Krejci-David Backes
Ryan Spooner-Riley Nash-Austin Czarnik
Anton Blidh-Dominic Moore-Jimmy Hayes
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Colin Miller
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Capitals will get Oshie back in the lineup after he was week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Oshie is fourth when it comes to team scoring, with eight goals and 12 points this season. With Washington lacking offensive firepower from top players like Ovechkin and Kuznetsov, the return of Oshie will be vital for a Capitals victory.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Washington’s power-play scored in three of its last five games, but that doesn’t tell the true story of the Capitals’ woes on the man advantage. Over those last five matches, Washington has gone 3-for-23 on the power-play, and have a 15.2 percent success rate on the PP this season. Hopefully, Oshie’s return to the top unit will get something going, but they’ll have to beat the Bruins’ dominant penalty kill, which is the third-best in the NHL.
— doug crap (@dougcrap) December 6, 2016
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3) [/miptheme_dropcap]Washington swept the season series against Boston last season and seemed to have no problem limiting the Bruins’ goal-scoring and shutting them down effectively. They’ll have to keep the same mentality in mind when they begin this year’s rendezvous with Boston.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]Holtby has proven to be phenomenal against the Bruins throughout his career. In 11 games, against the Bruins, he has gone 9-2-0, boasting a 1.57 GAA, a .952 save percentage and three shutouts to boot. He will have to continue his hot streak and shut down Boston yet again.
This is a critical game when it comes to keeping pace in the Eastern Conference and staying in playoff position. Washington and Boston currently take the seventh and eighth place spots respectively and are knotted at 31 points a piece.
Whichever team wins will tie Philadelphia for sixth place. If Washington loses, they will fall to eighth place and have a chance of losing their playoff position to the New Jersey Devils. Overall, this is a vital match-up when it comes to the standings, and the Capitals will need to deliver.
Sammi Silber covers the Capitals beat for The Hockey Writers and is an NHL contributor with Sporting News. She has also contributed to USA TODAY College, Huffington Post, FanSided and the Nation Network. Silber has written four books and recently worked on graphics for the film, The California Golden Seals Movie.