Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Capitals
They may carry a six-game point streak to TD Garden tonight, but the times are still a trying one for the injury-plagued Boston Bruins. Tonight will be no exception as they welcome the Washington Capitals to TD Garden.
Not only are the Black and Gold searching for their first two-game win streak of the season, they are also to end their 9-game skid against the Caps that dates back to the 2014-15 season.
At 6-6-1 through their first 13 games, the Capitals are looking for a little consistency from their defense and third and fourth lines. Still, they pose a formidable threat to the Black and Gold thanks to the likes of Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
And then there’s Braden Holtby, who has been quite the Bruins killer in his career with a stat line consisting of an 11-2-0 record, .945 save percentage, 1.80 goals against average and three shutouts versus the Black and Gold.
Somehow, the shorthanded Bruins need to get in Holtby’s head.
“When it comes to him personally, some guys just get hot against certain teams,” Bruins coach and former Caps bench boss Bruce Cassidy said following Boston’s optional skate on Saturday at Warrior Ice Arena. “They know going into the game after a while [saying] ‘wow I got a great record against them’ and they’re going in with a positive mindset. So for us, the other way, we can’t have a negative mindset going against him, and like every other goaltender that’s good – and he’s in that category – we need to make him work.”
Holtby may have rather pedestrian numbers to start the season (6-3-0, 2.79 goals against average, .919 save percentage), but the shorthanded Bruins need to find an answer. Rest assured, the 2016 Vezina Winner will be on his ‘A’ game tonight.
Looking for low-cost parking for tonight’s Bruins-Capitals game? Need to get in and out quickly while avoiding traffic around the TD Garden area? Then head over to Constitution Wharf (1 Constitution Rd.) and get a $15 rate for tonight’s Bruins-Capitals game. Check out the area in the map below and make sure to tell the parking attendants that Bruins Daily sent you!
Gametime: 7:00 pm
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 5-3-3 (13 points), Capitals 6-6-1 (13 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen-Jordan Szwarz-Anders Bjork
Jake DeBrusk-Sean Kuraly-Tim Schaller
Matt Beleskey-Riley Nash-Austin Czarnik
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Paul Postma-Kevan Miller
Capitals projected lines
Jakub Vrana-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeni Kuznetsof-Devante Smith-Pelly
Chandler Stephenson-Lars Eller-Tom Wilson
Nathan Walker-Jay Beagle-Alex Chiasson
Christian Djoos-John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov-Madison Bowey
Brooks Orpik-Taylor Chorney
– It wasn’t perfect by any means, but Cassidy is going with the same lineup from Thursday’s 2-1 win over Vegas. That means he’s once again stacking the top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Though they had plenty of chances against the Golden Knights, the Bruins needed their secondary scoring to come through in a tightly contested contest, and that’s exactly what happened with Riley Nash and Sean Kuraly tallying the team’s two goals. Until David Krejci, Ryan Spooner, Noel Acciari and David Backes heal up, the top trio will get plenty of attention from the opponents’ top defensive pairings.
“You saw last game how other guys did a really good job in stepping up right now,” Marchand said.
“You know, Kurals [Kuraly] and Nash and their lines did a great job in stepping up last game and really earning two big points for us. Every night different lines step up – sometimes it will be our line and sometimes it will be Nash’s line or Kurals line. Either way, we need to do the job and be big, and we need people to chip in offensively and defensively.”
– Before long, Acciari and Spooner will try to help the team chip in. Both took the ice for conditioning and stick handling drills this morning prior to the optional skate. Acciari, who fractured his left index finger on opening night, skated with a stick for the third straight day, while Spooner stepped on the ice for the first time since suffering a groin tear in Vegas on October 15. Given the original prognosis for Acciari (six weeks) and Spooner (four to six weeks), both appear to be on schedule to return within the next week or two if all goes smoothly.