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Game 56: Boston Bruins @ Washington Capitals Preview



Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins (31-14-7, 69 pts) will be playing the JV squad on Tuesday night in their regular season finale having already clinched the third seed in the East Division. It might have been an interesting game as they face their first-round playoff opponent, the Washington Capitals, in the regular season finale as well at Capital One Arena, but instead the Bruins will be employing their Black Aces and taxi squad in the game with nothing on the line.

The Bruins inactive list for tonight is impressive: Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, David Krejci, Taylor Hall, Craig Smith, Sean Kuraly, Charlie Coyle, Ondrej Kase, Tuukka Rask, Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, Mike Reilly, Brandon Carlo, Jeremy Lauzon and Kevan Miller. On the plus side, it means that Boston Bruins fans will get a chance to see some of the organization’s young prospects like Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen and Oskar Steen one more time prior to the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Capitals could have a few more regulars in their lineup with several Washington players looking to get some reps in after missing time recently with injuries, and they sound like they want to end the season on a winning note.

“Going into the playoffs, you got to make sure you have that good feeling in your body and you’re excited about the upcoming games. That’s where this group is right now,” said Nicklas Backstrom. “We’re excited about this [last game]. Only positive vibes.”

The Boston Bruins are 4-3 against the Capitals this season heading into the eighth and final regular season matchup between the two teams this year. Rookie Jeremy Swayman (7-2-0, 1.44 GAA and a .946 save percentage) gets the starting nod for the Boston Bruins against the Capitals on Tuesday night while getting his final tune-up ahead of likely playing the backup role for Tuukka Rask at the outset of the playoffs. Vitek Vanacek (20-10-4, 2.74 GAA and a .907 save percentage) will get the starting nod for the Capitals in the regular season finale against the Black and Gold.

Bruins Notes

-After leaving a game last week with an upper body injury, Boston Bruins forward Charlie Coyle is being held out of the final few regular season games prior to being expected to be ready for Game 1 against the Capitals this weekend. Ondrej Kase (upper body) had to exit Monday night’s game after the second period and did not make the trip to Washington with the rest of the team. Kevan Miller is being held out of Tuesday night’s game for load management on his troublesome knee but said he will be prepared to play both ends of back-to-back games once the playoffs get going.

–The Boston Bruins haven’t made their lineup plans public for tonight’s game, but Jack Studnicka, Cameron Hughes, Dan Vladar, Jack Ahcan, Zach Senyshyn, Urho Vaakanainen and Oskar Steen were all skating in Pawtucket on Monday ahead of tonight’s regular season finale. It’s a good bet that most, if not all, of them will be playing on Tuesday against the Capitals.

–Defenseman John Moore is out for the season after undergoing hip surgery.

–The Bruins’ powerplay went 1-for-4 on the power play in Monday’s win over the Islanders and sit ninth in the NHL with a 22% success rate.

-The PK was scored on in their only time on the ice in Monday night’s win over the Islanders and that has them sitting second in the NHL with an 85.9% success rate.

Washington Capitals Notes

– Though the season series was a lot more even this year than it’s been in the recent past, the Capitals are 19-6-0 (.760 point percentage) against the Bruins since the start of the 2014-15 season, the most wins in the NHL versus Boston during that span (New York Rangers: 13 wins). During that same span, Washington is 9-3-0 vs. Boston at Capital One Arena and have outscored the Bruins 40-25 in those 12 games.

“I think it’s important that we play the right way, we play hard, we play discipline and that we fight for the two points,” said Peter Laviolette.

-Nicklas Backstrom has nine points in the seven games vs. the Bruins to lead all Capitals scorers and TJ Oshie leads the Caps with five goals scored in the season series to this point.

–Peter Laviolette said that Alex Ovechkin will be a game time decision for Tuesday night’s game after having been out since May 3 with a lower body injury. Nicklas Backstrom will play on Tuesday night, but John Carlson and TJ Oshie will both be out of the lineup.

–The Capitals have recalled center Philippe Maillet, defenseman Martin Fehervary and goaltender Phoenix Copley from the Hershey Bears, and assigned Maillet to the NHL roster while relegating Garret Pilon to the taxi squad.

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Dillon-van Riemsdyk




Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston,, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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