The Boston Bruins face the Washington Capitals for the 129th time in their lifetime series – with the B’s holding a 68-36-21-4 record and a scoring edge of 231-171. Tonight will be the second of four meetings between these two Eastern Conference teams, and the second – and last – contest at TD Garden this season. The Bruins lost their home/season opener to the Caps, 4-1, in their first meeting this season on Oct. 1, 2009.
The Black-and-Gold are 10-1-2-2 in their last 15 games versus the Capitals, but Washington is currently riding a 10-game winning streak [averaging nearly five goals per game during that span], while Boston has now dropped their last seven [0-5-2].
Coming off two solid performances – albeit losses – the Bruins look to snap their losing ways and get back on the winning track against one of the hottest team in the NHL tonight at the TD Garden. Boston is 0-5-1 in their last six games at home, and is their second longest home-losing-streak in club’s history [11 games from Dec. 8, 1924 - Feb. 17, 1925]
Away Team: Washington Capitals [37-12-6, 80 points, 1st Southeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 2nd in the NHL, 10-0-0 last 10 games]
1st in the NHL on the power-play with a 26.3% success rate
1st in the NHL with 210 total goals for; 3.82 goals-per-game
80.5% rate ranks them 21st in the league on the penalty kill
11th in the league with 2.67 goals-against average
Alex Ovechkin: Team leader in goals and points. 35 goals [2nd in the NHL] 41 assists [5th], 76 points [2nd], plus-35 [1st], and 248 shots on goal [1st] in 47 games played this season. The newly acquired captain has 3-5-8 totals, with 31 shots on goal and a plus-6 rating in his last five games.
Nicklas Backstrom: Four game point streak with 2-5-7, plus-6, and 18 shots on goals during that span.
Thomas Fleischmann: has six assists in his last five games
Mike Knuble: has 4-2-6 in his last four contests.
Alexander Semin: is riding a nine-game point streak with 6-10-16, plus-8, and 23 shots on goal during that span.
Jose Theodore: has a record of 8-2-0 in his last 10 games played with a .918 save-percentage.
Ovechkin – Backstrom – Knuble
Fleischmann – Laich – Semin
Chimera – Morrison – Fehr
Gordon – Steckel – Bradley
Sloan – Schultz
Erskine – Poti
Morissonn – Pothier
IR: Semyon Varlamov
OUT: Mike Green (suspension)
Home Team: Boston Bruins [23-21-9, 55 points, 4th Northeast Division, 11th Eastern Conference, 24th in the NHL, 1-7-2 last 10 games]
30th in the NHL with 2.34 goals per game
6th in the league with a 2.43 goals-against average
17.7% success rate for 17th place on the power play
- 3rd on the penalty kill with 86.4%
Mark Stuart will be sidelined until March with a broken pinky finger. He sustained the injury in a fight with Kings’ forward, Wayne Simmonds in Saturday’s game, and underwent successful surgery on Monday. Defenseman Adam McQuiad was recalled on an emergency basis. Also, Andrew Ference began skating and practicing with the team, but is not expected – or cleared – to play.
Despite rattling off loss after loss, the Bruins seem to find a silver lining in defeat.
“…we’re better; we’re coming around. It’s just that right now, the end result means so much to us and that’s the part that’s disappointing” head coach Claude Julien said after Saturday’s 3-2 SO loss to the Kings. “If we weren’t at this stage right now, we’d be really encouraged with the way our team’s going. So got to keep our heads up and keep working at it and find a way to make sure that this turns into a more positive situation next time.”
Goaltender Tim Thomas, who was visibly upset after Saturdays’ shootout loss, also thinks the team is headed in the right direction, even after its seventh-straight loss.
“We got one point tonight. I sure wish we could have finished it off. But we’re heading back in the right direction, I think.”
Sometimes, if you stick to basics and just keep going at it, the points will come. Notching his second assist in as many games, after missing the previous eight with a knee injury, Marc Savard is thinking positive throughout the team’s struggles.
“Well, we played hard as a team tonight. It’s not going to happen overnight so the signs are headed in the right direction. So if we keep playing like this… we’re going to keep are heads up here. We’re proud of our effort here tonight. We didn’t get the results we wanted again but, like I said, it’s not going to happen overnight here… we got to stick together.