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Preview: Bruins host the Capitals in Chara’s return to Boston tonight

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The Bruins look to keep their defensive woes at bay as the Capitals roll into town.

NHL: Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Just the facts

When: Tonight, 7 PM

Where: TD Garden- Boston, MA

How to follow: NBCSN, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: Japers’ Rink

Know your enemy

  • 12-5-4 for 28 points, first in East
  • Nicklas Backstrom: 21GP, 10G, 15A, 25PTS; John Carlson: 21GP, 5G, 14A, 19PTS; Tom Wilson: 19GP, 7G, 10A, 17PTS; Alex Ovechkin: 17GP, 7G, 10A, 17PTS
  • Vitek Vanecek: 9-4-3, 2.81 GAA, .909 save percentage

Game notes

  • The Boston Bruins are 1-0-1 against the Washington Capitals this season. The Bruins last saw the Caps on February 1 on the road. Zdeno Chara struck first to put the Capitals on the board in the first period and 11 seconds later, Daniel Sprong gave Washington a two-goal lead. The Bruins trailed 3-0 halfway through the second period and went on to score five unanswered goals. David Pastrnak scored twice and Craig Smith, Brandon Carlo and Brad Marchand each picked up a goal. Eleven different Bruins registered points.
  • The Bruins closed out February with four regulation losses in the last six games and their worst defensive showing in a long time. After a collapse on defense for the better half of two straight games, the Bruins finally woke up and defeated the New York Rangers 4-1 on February 28. The Bruins took a 3-0 lead midway through the second, with goals from Charlie Coyle, Trent Frederic and Charlie McAvoy. Coyle scored his second goal of the night, a shorthanded, empty-netter in the third period, to make the final score 4-1.
  • The Capitals are on a three-game winning streak, but face a tougher half of the season starting this week. This past weekend, they swept the New Jersey Devils. In their three most recent games, scoring has come from throughout Washington’s lineup and they outscored their opponents 13-6. They’ve defeated the Devils and Buffalo Sabres in all but one game so far, for a total of eight wins. Both of those teams sit at the bottom of the East currently.
  • Chara unfortunately won’t get the warm welcome home reception from the Boston faithful tonight as the TD Garden is still three weeks away from hosting a limited percentage of fans. But nonetheless, it will mark his first time back to Boston after signing with the Capitals in December 2020. In 21 games with the Caps, he has two goals and four assists. He’s averaged 19:24 minutes on ice each night.
  • It looks like Coyle is starting to find his groove and is on a two-game point streak. He has three goals and one assist in his last four games after going eight games without registering a point. Pastrnak and Marchand are also on two-game point streaks. Pastrnak has four assists in the last two games. In his last six games, he’s registered a point in five of those games for four goals and six assists. Marchand has one goal and two assists in his last two games.
  • Newly acquired defenseman Jarred Tinordi skated alongside Connor Clifton on the third pairing during yesterday’s practice. Tinordi cleared COVID protocols, but Bruce Cassidy has not made a decision yet if he will play tonight and said some of the decision will be based on Matt Grzelcyk’s status. We do know that when he does make his Bruins debut, he will wear No. 84.
  • David Krejci and Matt Grzelcyk both got regular rotations during yesterday’s practice. How they feel later today after yesterday’s full team skate will determine if either plays tonight, Cassidy said. Kevan Miller worked off ice and won’t be in the lineup.

See ya tonight!