March 3 versus Boston Bruins at Verizon Center
Time: 7:00 pm
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 3WT 1500AM, 820 AM and 107.7 FM
Pregame: Pre-Cap at 3 p.m. on www.washingtoncaps.com
Boston Bruins (35-23-6)
Washington Capitals (30-28-8)
Two nights after their modest two-game winning streak was snapped at the hands of the Maple Leafs, the Caps entertain the Boston Bruins for the first time in 2007-08.
The Capitals’ next three games are against Boston and Buffalo, the only two Eastern Conference clubs that Washington has not defeated this season. The Bruins are the only team Washington has not beaten at Verizon Center since before the lockout.
Washington’s last win over the Bruins was a 2-1 overtime triumph on Apr. 10, 2006 at Boston. The Caps haven’t beaten the B’s in the District since Dec. 11, 2003. That was the first game in ex-bench boss Glen Hanlon’s tenure as the team’s head coach.
The Caps and Bruins have met only once thus far this season, a Jan. 3 date in Boston. The B’s took that one 2-0 behind a Tim Thomas shutout.
Each of the last 16 meetings between the two teams has been decided by one or two goals, and nine of the contests have gone into overtime.
The Caps hope they learned a lesson in Saturday night’s 3-2 loss to Toronto. Washington got out to a 1-0 lead but surrendered three unanswered goals to a veteran Toronto club as desperate for points as the Caps were. The Capitals were guilty of too much youthful individualism in that game, and it cost them. Hopefully, they’ll learn from the experience and the lesson won’t prove to be too costly.
“It’s a hurtful loss,” said Caps coach Bruce Boudreau afterwards. “Give credit to the Leafs. But at the same time, we did things we aren’t supposed to do. We were sitting there drawing up stuff on how we played [Friday in a 4-0 win over New Jersey], to a tee, and today we’re all individuals. When you do that, you’re not going to have success.”
The Capitals are five points behind Carolina for first place in the Southeast Division, and they are six points out of the eighth place slot in the Eastern Conference.
Washington’s power play ranks 14th in the NHL with a 17.9% success rate. The Caps have killed off 80.5% of the opposition’s power play chances this season, the 22nd best rate in the league.
Boston is as hot as any team in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have won six straight, with three of the victories coming in the shootout. Boston has won four straight on the road, and is 6-0-1 in its last seven road contests.
The Bruins started to heat up right around the time the Caps were up in Boston at the start of the New Year. Boston is 16-7-2 in calendar 2008.
The Bruins’ power play is clicking at a 19.2% rate, the sixth best in the league. Boston is 24th in the NHL in penalty killing with a kill rate of 80.4%. The B’s are 23-for-24 (95.8%) in penalty killing during the life of their six-game winning streak.
Notes: Monday’s game is the 67th of the season for the Caps, and only their second game against Boston. Washington only has five non-divisional games remaining against Eastern Conference foes, and three of those are against Boston. The Caps have already completed their season series with seven of their 10 non-divisional conference opponents.
Fun Fact: On this day in 1997, ex-Caps goaltender Jim Carey made his debut as a Bruin in a game against Toronto, two days after he was obtained from Washington in a six-player swap that sent Adam Oates to the District.
Carey surrendered four goals in the first period of a game at Maple Leaf Gardens. He was pulled after the first frame, and the Bruins went on to suffer a 4-2 setback.
Short Shifts: Nicklas Backstrom has five goals and 15 points in his last 13 games. He has a goal and 21 points in his last 21 games … Matt Bradley has a goal and three points in 14 career games against the Bruins … Donald Brashear has two goals and five points in 32 career games against the B’s. He is one point shy of 200 for his NHL career … Chris Clark has six goals and eight points in a dozen career contests against Boston … Matt Cooke has three goals and six points in nine career games against the B’s … Steve Eminger has one assist in nine career games against Boston. He is plus-2 in his last three games … Sergei Fedorov has eight goals and 22 points in 24 career games against Boston. He has three goals and 11 points in his last 13 games … Tomas Fleischmann has two goals and six points in his last eight games … Boyd Gordon has two assists in 10 career games against the Bruins … Mike Green has an assist in five career games against the B’s. Green leads all NHL defensemen with 17 goals. He has three goals and 10 points and is plus-5 in his last 12 games … Cristobal Huet is 8-2 with three shutouts, a 1.93 goals against avg. and a .940 save pct. lifetime against the Bruins … Brent Johnson is 2-3-1 with a 2.94 goals against average and a .904 save pct. during his career vs. Boston. Since the beginning of December, Johnson is 6-4-1 with a 2.38 goals against average and a .917 save pct in 12 appearances (11 starts) … Milan Jurcina has played plus or even hockey in six straight games and is plus-5 during that period … Olie Kolzig is 7-9-9 with two shutouts, a 2.83 goals against average and a .913 save pct. during his career against the Bruins. He is 12-5-4 since Dec. 22 and is two wins shy of 300 for his NHL career … Viktor Kozlov has 12 goals and 26 points in 36 career games against the B’s. He has two goals and is plus-3 in his last two games … Brooks Laich has two goals and three points in nine career games against Boston. Laich has four goals and six points in his last six games. He has established single-season career highs in goals (13) and points (23) this season … Shaone Morrisonn has one assist in nine career games against the Bruins … Michael Nylander has 14 goals and 31 points in 34 career games against the Bruins … Alex Ovechkin has three goals and seven points in his nine career contests against the B’s. He has 10 goals and 20 points in his last 14 games. Ovechkin is second in the league in scoring with 85 points. He leads the NHL with 49 goals and 17 power play goals … Brian Pothier has a goal and two points in 17 career games against the Bruins … Tom Poti has two goals and eight points in 21 career contests vs. Boston. He has four assists and is plus-4 in his last three games … Jeff Schultz has played plus or even hockey in six straight games and is plus-3 during that period … Alexander Semin has two assists in four career games against the B’s. He has seven goals and 11 points in his last 11 games … Alex Auld is 1-2 with a shutout, a 3.20 goals against average and an .865 save pct. lifetime against Washington. He was 3-1 with a 2.30 goals against average and a .910 save pct. in February … P.J. Axelsson has five goals and eight points in 34 career games against the Caps … Patrice Bergeron has three goals and 12 points in 12 career games against the Capitals … Brandon Bochenski has two goals in his two career games against Washington … Zdeno Chara has three goals and 14 points in 34 career games against the Caps. He has eight goals and 11 points and is plus-6 in his last 11 games … Andrew Ference has one goal and four points in 12 career games against the Capitals … Shane Hnidy has one goal and two points in 22 career games against the Caps … Phil Kessel has a goal in five career games vs. Washington. He has a goal and three points in his last five games … Chuck Kobasew has three assists in his last three games … David Krejci has three goals and four points in his last five games … Milan Lucic has a goal and four points in his last five games … Glen Metropolit has two goals and six points in seven career games vs. the Capitals. He has three assists in his last four games … Glen Murray has 13 goals and 30 points in 36 career games against the Caps. He has three goals in his last four games … Petteri Nokelainen has a goal and two points in two career games against Washington … Marc Savard has seven goals and 39 points in 28 career games against the Capitals. He has a seven-game points streak going (one goal, 10 assists) … Peter Schaefer has five goals and 10 points in 20 career games against Washington. He has two assists in his last two games … Mark Stuart has one goal in two career games against the Capitals … Marco Sturm has five goals and 13 points in 20 career games against the Caps. He has a seven-game scoring streak (three goals, seven assists) in the works … Tim Thomas is 8-0-1 with a shutout, a 1.82 goals against average and a .940 save pct. lifetime against Washington. He was 4-3-1 with a 2.84 goals against average and a .901 save pct. in February … Shawn Thornton has a goal and two points two career games against the Capitals. He has a goal and two points in his last three games … Aaron Ward has a goal and three points in 27 lifetime contests vs. Washington … Dennis Wideman has a goal in three career games against the Caps. He has two goals and six points in his last seven games.
Goaltender Manny Fernandez underwent left knee surgery and is out indefinitely.
Defenseman Andrew Alberts has post-concussion syndrome and is out indefinitely.
Center Patrice Bergeron has a concussion and a broken nose and is out indefinitely.
Defenseman Brian Pothier has an upper body injury and is day-to-day.
Right wing Chris Clark has a groin injury and is day-to-day.
Center Michael Nylander underwent rotator cuff surgery and is out 3-6 months.
Possible Line Combos and Defensive Pairings Boston Forwards
11-Axelsson, 91-Savard, 27-Murray
16-Sturm, 13-Metropolit, 12-Kobasew
81-Kessel, 46-Krejci, 17-Lucic
22-Thornton, 60-Sobotka, 53-Reich