Washington Capitals (27-6-5) vs Boston Bruins (12-7-9)
|Predicted Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV% / # SO|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||17-4-4||2.75 / .911 / 0|
|Boston Bruins||Tuukka Rask||13-4-5||2.28 / .922 / 2|
The Washington Capitals have shipped up to Boston to take on the Bruins for one last game before the holiday break. Historically, the Capitals are exquisite against the Bruins… Can Washington check off another wish on our list, and snag a win in Boston?
On Saturday, in the second game of a back-to-back, the Washington Capitals defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-1, for the third and final time this regular season. At last moment’s notice, the Lightning decided to start back-up goaltender Curtis McElhinney over Vasilevskiy, but the switch-up didn’t seem to faze the Capitals. The first period was score-less, despite two power plays for each team. Tampa was assessed a bench minor penalty for too-many-men and Mitchell Stephens for high-sticking, and Washington, for hooking (Ovechkin) and interference (Wilson). Four-on-four play would resume for 12 seconds after Wilson was called for his penalty. Tampa would not convert on the remainder of their power play. Four minutes and 40 seconds into the second period, defenseman Radko Gudas scored the first goal of the game, and his first of the season to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. The third period saw four Tampa power plays, including a 5-on-3 opportunity, and just one Bolts’ goal, at even strength. Jan Rutta was called for holding at the 4:29 mark, but Washington did not convert. 10 minutes into the final frame, Nikita Kucherov tallied his 12th of the season, tying the game at one goal each. Nick Jensen was called for interference 35 seconds later, and then Lars Eller for delay of game, giving Tampa a perfect opportunity with the two man-advantage to give themselves their first lead. Washingtons’ successful kill was imperative to their win on Saturday. The Capitals’ ability to kill off seven, (yes, seven) Tampa power plays helped improve Washingtons’ penalty kill to 2nd best in the league (85.7%). While we all would like for the Capitals to simply cut back on the number of penalties taken per game, it is extremely encouraging to know that this roster is so effective when faced with a challenge. Dmitry Orlov scored the eventual game-winning goal at the 13:57 mark, but Tampa would receive another chance on the power play as Jonas Siegenthaler was called for slashing. Luckily, Nic Dowd sealed the win with an empty-net, short-handed goal with just under three minutes remaining in the game. Ending the night with a .963 save percentage, Braden Holtby snagged his 17th win of the season. Holtby is expected to start against the Bruins.
Also on Saturday. The Boston Bruins lost to the Nashville Predators, 4-3 in overtime. Boston scores, on average, 3.32 goals per game, good enough for 7th, but the also allow the 2nd most goals against at 2.49 per game (TheScore, Boston). The first period saw two Nashville power plays, and one for the Bruins, but neither team would convert. Par Lindholm would score first, at the 7:30 mark of the second period, but less than five minutes later, Roman Josi tied the game, with his 12th goal of the season. Filip Forsberg went off for roughing with three minutes left in the second, and Patrice Bergeron would give Boston the 2-1 lead heading into the third period. Filip Forsberg would tie it all up, and 35 seconds later, Roman Josi potted his second of the game past Jaroslav Halak. With just 65 seconds left, and Nashville leading by 1, Patrice Bergeron scored his second of the game to give Boston the chance to sneak out with at least one point, and battle for a second. Ryan Ellis would be the one to win it for Nashville in overtime, handing Boston their third straight loss, and 8th in their last 9 games. Halak finished the night with a .862 save percentage, after allowing four goals on 29 shots. Tuukka Rask is slated to start for Boston, but we may see a goalie change prior to puck drop.
Boston is still struggling with injuries, and will be without the following players:
- Zdeno Chara (OUT, Jaw)
- John Moore (DTD, illness)
- Kevan Miller (IR-NR, kneecap)
- Anton Blidh (IR-NR, shoulder)
- Karson Kuhlman (DL, leg)
Coverage of the game begins at 6:00pm with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 6:30pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 7:00pm.
TheScore. (2019). Boston Bruins News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/1.
TheScore. (2019). Washington Capitals News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/15.