Here’s your Boston Hockey Now Boston Bruins Game Day Preview:
Boston Bruins (45-21-5, 95 pts) vs Washington Capitals (39-22-10, 88 pts)
TIME: 1:30 PM ET
The Boston Bruins are riding high after a 2-1 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning that improves them to 18-4-1 over their last 23 games and has them in sole possession of the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
It was the kind of playoff-style win highlighted by strong play from Linus Ullmark (28 saves) in the pipes and Jake DeBrusk making plays offensively, including a great hustle shift on the overtime game-winner from Charlie Coyle.
Linus Ullmark with a huge stop on Brayden Point:
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 9, 2022
It was all the more impressive that they did it without the injured David Pastrnak and Hampus Lindholm, who will also be out on Sunday afternoon against the Washington Capitals.
“Playoffs is a different animal,” said Coyle, who scored his 16th goal of the season in the overtime thriller. “We’ve built [up] our game this year, especially vs. those guys when you play well and you know what you’re capable of against a certain team, that can help. But you’ve got to bring it every night. A series is definitely different [than the regular season]. But we want to play well against those teams during the year. That can definitely help us going forward.
“It’s nice to size up against those top teams and see how you fare against them. When you get a good result against a good team and you’re trying to solidify a good spot, that’s a big game.”
Per Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber, Washington’s playmaking center Nicklas Backstrom is going to be out for the Capitals as well.
It’s a precarious one-point advantage over the Lightning, however, and the Bruins have some work to do if they hope to catch up to a Toronto Maple Leafs team that’s opened up a five-point lead over them for home ice advantage in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins are 2-1-0 on the current four game road trip and looking to finish off the road swing by taking six out of a possible eight points with just a few weeks to go in the regular season.
The Washington Capitals played on Saturday and won a 6-3 decision over the Penguins in Pittsburgh with Tom Wilson scoring the game-winner in the third period before a pair of empty net clinchers.
Linus Ullmark will get his second straight start for the Boston Bruins after notching 28 saves in the 2-1 overtime win over Tampa and is 6-1-0 in his last seven starts with a .941 save percentage during the month of April.
Vitek Vanacek (17-11-5, 2.60 GAA and .911 save percentage) gets the start in net for the Capitals after Ilya Samsonov had started two straight for Washington.
Boston Bruins Notes
-David Pastrnak and Hampus Lindholm (lower body) are both out for Sunday afternoon’s matinee against the Washington Capitals. Pastrnak has missed the last two games after getting tangled up in the Columbus win and Lindholm will miss second straight game after exiting the Detroit loss early on Tuesday night.
-Trent Frederic returned to action on Friday and looked a little rusty in his customary third line spot with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith.
-With Lindholm out, 6-foot-5 defenseman Josh Brown is expected back in the lineup for the Boston Bruins on the third pairing.
Washington Capitals Notes
-The Capitals are winless this season against the Boston Bruins, taking a pair of losses in January where they were outscored by an 11-7 margin.
-The Capitals are 5-3-2 in the second half of back-to-backs this season. After Sunday’s game with the Bruins, Washington has only one set of back-to-backs remaining this season.
–Carl Hagelin (upper body), and Joe Snively (upper body) are out for the Washington Capitals. Conor Sheary (illness) may be available for the Capitals.
Boston Bruins Lineup:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron– Jake DeBrusk
Taylor Hall – Erik Haula – Marc McLaughlin
Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith
Nick Foligno – Tomas Nosek – Curtis Lazar
Mike Reilly – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort – Josh Brown
Washington Capitals Lineup: