After earning a hard-fought point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals Saturday, the Boston Bruins (5-1-2, 12 pts) will face the Capitals (6-0-3, 15 pts) in a rematch Monday (7 PM ET, TVAS, SN1, SNE, SNO, NBCWA, NESN). in Washington DC.
This is the second of eight meetings for the Bruins against their former captain Zdeno Chara and the current first place Capitals. The Bruins had a four-game win streak snapped by the Capitals on Saturday and the Caps now have a three-game win streak heading into this East Division tilt.
Despite falling behind 3-0 early on Saturday, the Boston Bruins were still happy with their effort and ability to once again come back and force overtime. The Bruins out-shot the Capitals 43-23 and if not for the spectacular play by Caps rookie goalie Vitek Vanacek, the Bruins may have blown the Caps out of Capital One Arena. They know if they keep playing the way they did Saturday, good things will happen.
“We shouldn’t have lost this game. But we’re not going to hang our heads by any means. We did a great job coming back,” Bruins winger Brad Marchand said postgame. “We just have to keep building on that. If we play like we did tonight we’re going to win a lot more than we’re going to lose”
Jaro Halak (2-0-1, 1.30 GAA, .938 save percentage) was the first Boston Bruins goalie onto the ice for pregame warm-ups and gets the starting nod between the pipes for the Bruins Monday after Tuukka Rask didn’t bring his “A” game to the B’s overtime loss in Washington last weekend.
Vanacek (5-0-2, 2.78 GAA, .918 save percentage), will be back in for the Capitals.
– ‘The Perfection Line’ was reunited Saturday as Bruins superstar winger David Pastrnak returned to the lineup for the first time this season. Pastrnak had five shots on net but was unable to light the lamp. He did however assist on Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy’s tying goal with 58 ticks left in regulation.
Pastrnak’s linemates continued their torrid start as Patrice Bergeron had three helpers to give him two goals and three assists in his last two games. Brad Marchand extended his point streak (4g, 4a) to five games with his fifth goal of the season. Bergeron and Marchand are tied for the team lead in goals (5), assists (6), and points with 11 each.
– After going pointless in the first four games of this young season, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy has registered a point in each of his last four games. With the game-tying goal and an assist on Saturday, McAvoy now has a goal and six assists in his last four games.
– The Bruins went 1-for-4 on the powerplay Saturday and are now 9-for-26 on the man advantage. The Bruins powerplay is fifth-best in the league with a 34.6 success rate.
Unfortunately, the league’s best penalty kill heading into Saturday, couldn’t kill off the Capitals only power play. The Bruins PK has now allowed three powerplay goals on 36 powerplay attempts against them. Their 90-percent success rate is now fifth-best in the NHL.
– Forward Charlie Coyle was listed as questionable for tonight after suffering an upper-body injury on Saturday but Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said Coyle should be good to go against the Caps.
Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (lower-body) missed his second game of the season Saturday and will not play tonight. Per head coach Bruce Cassidy, Grzelcyk, fellow defenseman John Moore (lower-body), and forwards Jake DeBrusk (lower-body), Jack Studnicka (undisclosed), and Ondrej Kase (upper-body) are all back home in Boston and likely won’t join the team for their two games (Thursday and Friday) in Philadelphia against the Flyers either.
– Alex Ovechkin’s overtime winner 28 ticks into the extra frame Saturday gave him 708 career goals and tied him with Capitals great Mike Gartner for seventh all-time in NHL scoring. He is now 186 goals shy of Wayne Gretzky as the greatest goal scorer of all-time. Ovechkin is in his 16th NHL season, all with the Capitals, and has played 1,187 NHL games. He tied Pastrnak for the Rocket Richard Trophy as both scored 48 goals last season.
– Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and two assists Saturday. He leads the team in goals (5), assists (8), and in points with 13. Backstrom has a five-game point streak going with three goals and six assists over that span.
2020 Norris Trophy finalist John Carlson had an assist Saturday and now has seven helpers to go with three goals this season. His ten points are second only to Backstrom and the best on the Capitals blue line.
– The Capitals are 8-for-22 on the powerplay. Their 44.4 percent success rate is the best in the league. The Caps’ penalty kill has not been that good, allowing eight goals on 31 attempts against with a success rate ranked 21st in the NHL at 75.8 percent.
– The Capitals are still missing winger Evgeny Kuznetsov and goalie Ilya Samsonov after they broke COVID Protocol two weeks ago. Orlov could play Monday.
Forward Lars Eller (upper-body), forward Brian Pinho (undisclosed), and defenseman Justin Schultz (undisclosed) are day-to-day. Beck Malenstyn and Michal Kempny are out indefinitely with Achilles injuries and goalie Henrik Lundqvist thankfully had successful open-heart surgery and is out for the season.
Boston Bruins Lines
Note: This is an educated guess based on Coyle playing
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Nick Ritchie – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Chris Wagner
Anders Bjork – Sean Kuraly – Karson Kuhlman
Jeremy Lauzon – Charlie McAvoy
Connor Clifton – Brandon Carlo
Jakub Zboril – Kevan Miller
Washington Capitals Lines
Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary – T.J. Oshie – Richard Panik
Carl Hagelin – Nic Dowd – Garnet Hathaway
Jakub Vrana – Michael Sgarbossa – Daniel Sprong
Zdeno Chara – John Carlson
Brenden Dillon – Trevor van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov – Nick Jensen