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Preview: Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins

“We won a game yesterday. We win one today, thats two in a row... that’s called a winning streak. It HAS happened before”

NHL: Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals
Brad Marchand looks to get on the scoresheet after an off game for him
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Just the Facts:

What: The Boston Bruins (5-3-3, 13pts, 4th in ATL) host the Washington Capitals (6-6-1, 13 points, 6th in MET)

The Time: 7pm EST

The Place: TD Garden

Place to Watch: NESN, NHLN-US, NBCSWA

Place to Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub

Opposing SBNation Blog: Japers’ Rink

Players to look out for:

  • Alexander Ovechkin will be found on the left faceoff dot during powerplays. DO NOT FORGET ABOUT HIM, he will very likely have a few shots from there
  • Sean Kuraly had four shots, including the game winning goal in a larger role. Will he be able to keep up the pace?
  • The Bruins top line (if it remains intact) was held off the scoresheet, although they did get 7 shots. The way the Bruins lines are structured, that can’t happen again
  • The Capitals big guns were also silent, with Ovechkin, Backstrom, Oshie, and Kuznetsov only totaling 11 shot attempts and 3 shots on net against the Islanders. Don’t expect them to be quiet again

Preview:

The Bruins gritted out a win against Vegas and their fourth string goalie on Thursday, but will need to do more to score on Braden Holtby tonight. If the Bruins continue to load up Patrice Bergeron’s line, they have to both score and not get scored upon, with the hopes that the rest of the team plays Washington to a draw.

Washington has found itself on the wrong side of the shot totals this year, in part due to losses on defense (Kevin Shattenkirk and Karl Alzner left in free agency, and Nate Schmidt left in the expansion draft). John Carlson, Brooks Orpik, and Dimitry Orlov have carried the burden while Matt Niskanen is out with an injury, all averaging over 22 minutes a night. Barry Trotz has split up the usual duo of Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, meaning Bergeron’s line likely won’t be able to go power against power with them. The only time they will be on the ice together will likely be on the powerplay, which the Bruins should try and avoid.

NEVER4GET:

ALEX OVECHKIN WILL BE SITTING ON THE LEFT FACEOFF DOT ON THE POWERPLAY. DON’T LEAVE HIM OPEN, AND IF YOU DO, PLEASE DON’T LET THE PUCK GET TO HIM. HE SCORES FROM THERE A LOT

This heat map from Ovechkin’s 16-17 season on the powerplay really highlights his lack of movement on the powerplay. His tied for the league lead 17 powerplay goals last year highlight its effectiveness.

The Ovechkin spot
http://hockeyviz.com/ppShotLoc