F St. Finale
Sunday, 04.11.2010 / 12:00 PM
Mike Vogel - WashingtonCaps.com Senior WriterApril 11 vs. Boston Bruins at Verizon Center
820AM, 1500AM, 106.7 FM and XM
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Boston Bruins (38-30-13)
Washington Capitals (54-15-12)
Back on Oct. 1, the Capitals opened the 2009-10 regular season against the Bruins in Boston. At noon on Sunday, the Capitals will close the ’09-10 campaign against the Bruins at Verizon Center.
Washington brings a five-game winning streak into the regular season finale. The Capitals are 5-0-1 in their last six games, and they are 30-4-6 (66 points) in the second half of the season.
The Capitals are 30-5-5 on home ice this season. With a win over the Bruins on Sunday, the Caps can establish a franchise standard for most home wins in a season. Washington also won 30 games at home during the 1985-86 season.
With their 5-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday, the Caps became just the eighth team ever to reach 120 or more standings points. Washington is just the fourth different franchise and the first non-Original Six franchise to achieve the feat.
“I think it’s a great thing. It is a pretty big deal. That’s a lot of points. When you look at an 82-game schedule, that’s 66 games that we’ve picked up points. The consistency of the team is really good. I don’t want to belay the facts because starting Monday, all of them go out the window. But we’ve lost four games in regulation in the second half. And I don’t know how many games out of the 15 [regulation losses] we’ve lost by more than one goal. It means that the team, to me, has been consistently good since day one.”
The Caps have lost only seven games by more than a single goal this season.
In Friday’s win, Alex Ovechkin
netted his 50th goal of the season to take the NHL lead. On the same goal, Nicklas Backstrom
recorded his 100th point of the season. Goaltender Jose Theodore – 20-0-3 since Jan. 12 – recorded his 30th win of the season, reaching that level for the fourth time in his NHL career.
In Sunday’s game, defenseman Mike Green
will be seeking his 20th goal of the season and forward Alexander Semin
will be vying for his 40th of the season. If Green gets to 20, he will become the first NHL defenseman to achieve back-to-back 20-goal seasons since ex-Caps Jeff Brown and Larry Murphy both did so in 1991-92 and again in 1992-93. Brown was with St. Louis and Murphy with Pittsburgh.
At the end of Friday night’s NHL action, the Capitals still had four possible first-round opponents for the Stanley Cup playoffs: Boston, Montreal, Philadelphia and New York. With Saturday’s Boston win over Carolina and Toronto’s overtime win over Montreal, the possibilities are down to just two: New York and Montreal.
If Philadelphia defeats the Rangers on Sunday, the Caps will play Montreal in the first round. If the Rangers beat the Flyers, the Caps will play New York.
The Caps’ penalty killing outfit has killed off 14 of its 15 missions (93.3%) in the month of April. Washington is 12-1-1 overall in April of the last three seasons.
Since suffering a 3-2 overtime loss to the Capitals in Washington on Monday, the Bruins have downed Buffalo on Thursday and Carolina on Saturday. Both of those victories came in Boston. With those wins, the Bruins have cemented their spot in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, and they have also ensured that they will not finish eighth and have to play the top-seeded Capitals in the first round.
Boston will face either Buffalo or New Jersey in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bruins scored three shorthanded goals on the same penalty kill in Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Hurricanes. The victory pushed Boston to a game to the good on home ice this season. The B’s finished up with a record of 18-17-6 in Boston in 2009-10. The Bruins are 20-13-7 on the road this season, heading into their final contest of the campaign.
Boston’s offense has managed to fire 30 or more shots on goal in each of its last 11 games. After scoring just seven goals in a span of five games, the Bruins have now scored a total of seven goals in their last two games.
The Bruins’ power play has connected for a goal in just one of the team’s last 16 games. Boston’s extra-man unit is 3-for-49 (6.1%) during that span and hasn’t scored a goal since Mar. 27 when it went 3-for-4 in a 5-0 victory over Calgary.