The Washington Capitals lost 3-2 to the New York Rangers last night, notable for two reasons; one, the Caps have only lost seventeen times in 64 games--no one else is close to under 20 total losses, as the Los Angeles Kings are next up with 25--this season, which is ridiculous, and also the fact that the Bruins will get a shot at a tired Capitals club which arrived in Boston light last night. Washington, for some reason oddly NHL schedule-makers can attempt to explain, is playing its fourth game in five days. To be honest, I wasn't entirely sure that was allowed by the CBA except during the playoffs.
Washington is two points shy of 100 and sporting a 16-point lead over the Metro this season, whereas the Bruins recent return to decent play has them chomping on the heels of the 2nd Place Florida Panthers and the resurgent division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning-both teams hold a two-point edge on Boston and have one game in hand. The Detroit Red Wings are three points back of Boston with a game in hand as well. Games like these against the NHL's elite--sans the recent demolition of Chicago--haven't been too kind to the Bruins, but they're going to need to start picking up some points against teams such as Tampa/Washington in order to hold onto the 3rd spot. It hardly needs to be said, but a seven-gamer with the Florida Panthers is most likely preferable than dropping into a Wild Card spot.
Also perhaps needless to say, it's not as if the Bruins have clinched yet, either.
Just the Facts:
Let's just maybe start by scoring a goal on Braden Holtby and then we can acknowledge that there are other things that matter. Holtby has been his usual very good self, though there's some buzz that he's been overworked. He's pitching a .922 thus far.
But seriously folks, the Bruins may face back-up Phillip Grubauer, since the Caps are on the second half of the back-to-back. John Carlson is once again out. The Caps No. 1 DMan was having a pretty fabulous season before the injury trouble, though Washington did win the last match-up between these two teams without his services.
You might have heard of Alex Ovechkin, who once again has passed the 40-goal mark, coming in at 41 Goals and 59 Points in 62 games. He's scored more than twenty more goals than the next-most prolific category, though the depth-scoring has been pretty solid for Washington this year. Also, Ovechkin doesn't lead the team in points; fellow Russian Evgeni Kutznetsov does with a sparkling 20-46-66 line, and Assistbot Nicklas Backstrom is at 17-43-60. T.J. Oshie and former King Justin Williams both have chipped in 19 Goals, and combine with the three players already mentioned to make five of the Caps eight players who're into double digits in goals (the Bruins have seven, though there's a big dropoff after Marchand (33), Bergeron (25), and Eriksson (24).
Hard to say why this wouldn't be another game with Tuukka Rask on call, seeing as a Jonas Gustavsson interlude seems more likely during the Monday-Tuesday back-to-back in Florida.
With Carlson injured, the Caps goalie undecided, and a couple recent acquisitions by the Bruins, expect the lines post a little later to clear up some of the mysteries. For now, look forward to this one: it should be a doozy.