Can the Boston Bruins exact revenge on the Washington Capitals today at TD Garden?
For the second time in a week, the Boston Bruins (24-12-6, 54 pts, .643%) will face the first-place Capitals (29-12-4, 62 pts, .689%). Of course, the last time these two teams met a week ago today at the Garden, the Caps absolutely humiliated a Bruins team with a depleted blueline in an 8-1 drubbing. A lot has changed since that game though. Within an hour of that game, for the Bruins, mercifully ending, Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney pulled the trigger on one of two trades that have since reshaped this 2021 Bruins team.
Sweeney first acquired defenseman Mike Reilly from the Ottawa Senators and then swung for the fences, trading for star winger Taylor Hall and center Curtis Lazar from the Buffalo Sabres. All three players have had instant impacts for the Bruins in their first three games wearing the spoked B, and it appears Sweeney hit a pair of dingers that took a Boston Bruins team that just a week ago, was in serious danger of relinquishing the final playoff spot in the East Division.
The Boston Bruins also welcomed back Tuukka Rask this past Thursday and after not playing since March 25, the veteran goaltender looked like the 2020 Vezina Trophy winner making 22 saves in a 4-1 win that snapped a five-game losing streak for the Bruins against the Islanders. After rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman got the win and his first NHL shutout in a 3-0 win over the Islanders on Friday night, Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy will put Rask (9-4-2, 2.31 GAA, .910 save percentage) back between the pipes today against the Capitals.
– The Boston Bruins defense is still quite depleted as the Bruins remain without two of their regulars in Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk, who are both out with upper-body injuries. Carlo is week-to-week and Grzelcyk is day-to-day. Grzelcyk is scheduled to go on the team’s upcoming five-game roadie in Buffalo and Pittsburgh. Also, defenseman Kevan Miller, who had been playing every other game due to load management, will miss a second straight game with an undisclosed injury not related to his reconstructed knee.
-Forward Trent Frederic (illness, not COVID-related) is day-to-day.
-Goalie Jaro Halak remains on the NHL COVID Protocol list but per Cassidy, Sunday morning is scheduled to at least join the team for practice on Monday.
-The three newest Boston Bruins have factored into the scoresheet in each of the last two games. Hall has scored in two straight games; Reilly has two helpers, including a delicious apple Friday on David Pastrnak’s first goal in seven games, and in that same game, Lazar netted his first goal as a Bruin with an empty-netter to seal the 3-0 win for the Bruins.
-Could Capitals captain and future hall of famer Alexander Ovechkin make history again at the Garden today? had two goals and an assist in a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday and now has 24 lamplighters and 18 helpers this season. Ovechkin has 730 career goals is now sixth all-time in goal-scoring. He can tie or surpass Marcel Dionne (731 goals) today.
-Newly acquired forward Michael Raffl is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
-Former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara (lower-body) was a last-minute scratch.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Jake DeBrusk
Sean Kuraly – Curtis Lazar – Chris Wagner
Jeremy Lauzon – Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly – Steven Kampfer
Jarred Tinordi– Connor Clifton
Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Tom Wilson
Anthony Mantha – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Conor Sheary – Lars Eller – Daniel Sprong
Carl Hagelin – Nic Dowd – Garnet Hathaway
Dmitry Orlov – John Carlson
Brenden Dillon – Justin Schultz
Trevor van Riemsdyk – Nick Jensen