In a span of two days, the Boston Bruins will look to avenge third period collapses against the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively. That all starts on Saturday when the Black and Gold welcome the Caps for the only time this season; the second of three matchups between the two teams.
Despite a sloppy second period, the Bruins found a way to defeat the Florida Panthers in an ugly 4-1 victory – two days after their collapse to the Penguins. Patrice Bergeron scored twice and the second line (if Bruins fans still call it that) led the way in the win.
The Capitals come in off a 3-2 victory over the Southeast Division leading Carolina Hurricanes. Washington, however, is just 2-3 since its third period comeback in what has been a very inconsistent season for first-year coach and former Bruin Adam Oates.
With 39 points, the Bruins (18-4-3) look to regain some ground on the Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, both of whom lead the Eastern Conference with 40 points. Boston, however, has two games in hand on the Habs and three on the Pens. The Caps (11-14-1), meanwhile come in tied for 12th with 23 points and trail the Winnipeg Jets by seven points for eighth.
Adam McQuaid (undisclosed) is questionable for today’s game, but at worse should suit up tomorrow in Pittsburgh.
After the jump, lineups, storylines, linkage and tweets of interest
Gametime: 1 p.m.
Location: TD Garden
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins (18-4-3, 39 points), Capitals (11-14-1, 23 points)
Bruins’ projected lineup
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Jay Pandolfo-Rich Peverley-Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dougie Hamilton-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Capitals’ projected lineup
Aaron Volpatti-Nicklas Backstrom-Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr-Marcus Johansson-Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera-Mike Ribero-Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks-Jay Beagle-Joey Crabb
Karl Alzner-Steven Olesky
Jeff Schultz-John Carlson
Jack Hillen-Tom Poti
Bruins to watch
Since they still have their faces on milk cartons, lets shadow Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, shall we? In Horton’s case, at least he was creating opportunities against the Panthers; hitting the post once and feeding Lucic for a chance at his fifth of the season in the first. But the 24-year old forward, who has not scored a goal since Feb. 24 in Florida, slid the puck just wide on a redirect. The Bruins are going to need the one-time 30 goal scorer to get going sooner rather than later.
While Lucic and Horton have struggled, the Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin line is picking up the slack nicely. The trio is a combined plus-56 on the season and over the last five games they’ve totalled 17 points (7 goals, 10 assists). With the daunting task of shutting down the top lines of opposing teams each night, its safe to say all three have gotten it done on both ends of the ice.
Capitals to watch
Perhaps Alex Ovechkin is an enigma after all. On one night, the Caps captain can light the lamp and do what he does best. But, as has been the case for most of the season, Ovi can follow it up with a dud, thus comes media speculation on whether or not he has the heart to play in Washington. For someone who some consider as one of the faces of the league along with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Claude Giroux and Steven Stamkos – just to name a few – its easy to see why some Caps fans are frustrated with the Russian forward, despite leading the team in goals with 10 (along with Mike Ribiero).
Defensively, it seems like Steve Olesky is making the most of his opportunity. In six games, the 27-year old is a plus-2 to go along with his four points (a goal and three assists). Not bad for his first cup of coffee in the NHL.
Much to the delight of fellow Bruins Daily colleague Anthony Travalgia, Chris Kelly is hoping to recover from his broken tibia and return to the Bruins this season (Joe McDonald/ESPN Boston)
Stanley Cup of Chowder gives their midseason grades to the Bruins’ forwards.
Here’s info on the “6th annual Cuts for a Cause” benefitting the Shawn Thornton and Boston Bruins Foundation (via NHLBruins.com)
Ted Starkey of SB Nation asks if the fun is gone from Ovechkin’s game.
Caps defenseman Tom Poti shares some memories from his days at BU after yesterday’s practice at Agganis Arena (Chuck Gormley/CSN Washington)
Tweets of interest
Jack Edwards calls this weekend’s slate a “no-excuses weekend.”
— Jack Edwards (@RealJackEdwards) March 16, 2013
And props from one CSN Insider (Gormley) to another (Joe Haggerty).
— Chuck Gormley (@ChuckGormleyCSN) March 16, 2013