The Boston Bruins (12-3-4, 28 points) return home to TD Garden to battle the Washington Capitals (14-3-4, 32 points) in the second half of a back-to-back set for both teams. The Bruins snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory in Toronto last night over the Maple Leafs. The Bruins lines were changed up and the results were positive with four goals.
The Capitals, meanwhile, dropped a 5-2 decision at home to Montreal.
Puck drop is at 7:00 pm live on NESN and ESPN+. It is the first of three meetings on the season between the teams.
A Troubled Past
The Bruins have seemingly always struggled with the Capitals over the years. The Bruins did win the last meeting, 1-0 on Super Bowl Sunday last February, but had lost the 14 previous tilts. That is not a typo. The Bruins, prior to last February, had lost 14 straight to the Capitals. That streak dated all the way back to March 29th, 2014.
Overall this decade, the Capitals are 28-12-0 against the Bruins and won the lone playoff series between the sides in seven games in 2012. They’ve completely dominated this head-to-head matchup. Tuukka Rask did shut the Capitals out last February, however. He stopped 24 shots while David Krejci scored the lone goal as the Bruins won in the nation’s capital.
Executing The Plan
The Bruins snapped their skid last night, but it wasn’t a pretty victory. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy admitted postgame that that was according to plan. “We battled back in the third, scored some nice second effort goals. Got to the interior, which was out gameplan. All three goals were there, I think our powerplay got a few looks from there. So good job that way,” he told reporters postgame in Toronto.
Cassidy also applauded his team’s mental game, as the club didn’t do anything “stupid” in this contest. Even when the Bruins got into trouble, they were following the plan. It was just a skilled team in Toronto making a play. That will happen from time to time.
“They had a pretty good push in the second where…I think we might have started to get away from those good habits that we were doing early on and we kind of invite them right back in so…but the sign of a good team we kinda come back in the third period, regroup, kinda reset and we get back to it, get a goal right off the bat,” Charlie Coyle said.
The Bruins faced adversity against a good Maple Leafs team, but executed the plan and as a result are back in the win column.
The Capitals rarely lose, but weren’t nearly good enough last night at home against the Canadiens. “We weren’t sharp tonight,” Todd Reirden told the media postgame. “For the most part, we’ve been really consistent this year and that game we were off. So that’s the good thing about a back-to-back. We’re right back in it tomorrow, and make some adjustments here to our group for tomorrow and get prepared to take on an excellent Boston team.”
When asked what kind of adjustments could be expected, Reirden admitted that he is waiting to hear more regarding injuries. He did admit that the team “has a little bit of a plan in place,” for what they want to do. As for confirming changes? “I can’t do it yet until I know exactly how we came out of that game. I’ll have to meet with the trainers and we’ll have an update for you tomorrow.”
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Anders Bjork – David Krejci – Charlie Coyle
Trent Frederic – Par Lindholm – Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Urho Vaakanainen – Conor Clifton
The Bruins lines are subject to changed and based off of last night’s group. David Backes (upper-body), Karson Kuhlman (hairline tibia fracture), Brett Ritchie (upper-body), Zach Senyshyn (lower-body), Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk are all still injured and unable to play. Kevan Miller and John Moore, yet to play this season, are both still working towards a return.
Washington Capitals Lines
Alexander Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson – Lars Eller – Richard Panik
Brendan Leipsic – Garnet Hathaway – Tyler Lewington
Michal Kempny – John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov – Radko Gudas
Jonas Siegenthaler – Nick Jensen
Ilya Samsonov started for the Capitals last night, so Holtby is expected to go against the Bruins. Lines are subject to change.