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Bruins vs. Capitals Preview: Things look a little different from up here

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It's been almost eleven months since Joel Ward ended the Bruins' 2012 playoff hopes. Now, the Caps sit ten spots back of the Bruins in the East.

James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

Just the Facts:

Game Time: 7:00 PM, Verizon Center, Washington DC. TV Broadcast: New England Sports Network (NESN). Radio Broadcast: 98.5 The Sports Hub.

The other side's SB Nation site: Jaspers Japers Rink

Records: Bruins (14-3-2, 4th in the East) vs. Capitals (8-11-1, 14th in the East)

Get tickets here: Boston Bruins tickets

Projected Capitals lines:

Hendricks - Ribiero - Ovechkin
Fehr - Backstrom - Brouwer
Chimera - Beagle - Ward
Volpatti - Perreault - V.v.V

Alzner - Kundratek
Erskine - Carlson
Schultz Oleksy - Poti

Holtby

Projected Bruins lines:

Marchand - Bergeron - Seguin
Lucic - Krejci - Horton
Paille - Kelly - Peverley
Pandolfo - Campbell - Thornton

Chara - Boychuk
Seidenberg - Hamilton
Ference - McQuaid

Rask

Preview:

Time to brush that loss to the Canadiens off our shoulders and look to tonight's matchup against the retooled Capitals. Gone are the days of Alex Semin sniping Tim Thomas in overtime, of Bruce Boudreau's comical face behind the bench or Dale Hunter's much more stoic one; Instead, they've got a much more familiar, old friend in as head coach. Adam Oates, you guys! As if you didn't know.

The Capitals are in a rare off year this year; say what you will about their annual post-season performance, they're typically a shoe-in to win the Southeast, always staying pretty competitive and close to the forefront of the conference. Instead, this year, they've got a top-6 that's barely recognizable from years past outside of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, including old nemesis Mike Ribiero and Matt "shootout specialist" "this face was not made for HD" Hendricks skating on Ovechkin's line.

They've scooped up other teams' leftovers through trades (Joey Crabb) and off the waiver wire (Aaron Volpatti) to round out their bottom-6, and their two top young defensemen - Karl Alzner and John Carlson, who both gave the Bruins fits in the playoffs last year - aren't exactly performing on the level they were previous. With Mike Green sidelined by injury, those two and John Erskine should see the majority of blueline time tonight against Boston; rookie defenseman Tomas Kundratek seems to be being used in a role similar to how Boston is employing Dougie Hamilton.

On the Bruins' side, everything is status quo as usual - Tuukka Rask should get the start. It'll be interesting to see which top line shows up tonight - will the Krejci line snap out of their few-game slowdown, or will the Bergeron line keep it hot and fresh?

Troy Brouwer missed the morning skate with the flu. Brooks Laich is still sidelined. The Capitals also recently signed and recalled defenseman Steven Oleksy, although it's unclear what role he'll play. ETA: according to the Washington Post's Katie Carrera, looks like Oleksy is in for Jeff Schultz tonight. The bottom line seems to be: if the Bruins can figure out how to beat Braden Holtby, the blueline in front of him, on paper, shouldn't be an issue - and at the rate they've been going, the scoring threat isn't a big one, either.

Never forget:

Just do this a bunch tonight, ok ty ty?