In a showdown for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday, the Capitals were throttled 5-1 at home by the Buffalo Sabres. The Caps could move into a tie with the Sabres with a win, but Buffalo would still be considered the eighth-place team by virtue of playing fewer games.
The Capitals have taken two of three from the Bruins this season, including a 4-3 victory at TD Garden on March 10.
San Jose Sharks at Phoenix Coyotes -- In the West's biggest game of the night, the eighth-place Sharks (88 points, five games remaining) face the ninth-place Coyotes (87 points, five games remaining). With a win, the Sharks can move back atop the Pacific Division and grab third place, while a loss would have them once again outside of the top eight. Coyotes captain Shane Doan will make his return from a three-game suspension. The Coyotes are 3-1-1 against the Sharks this season and 2-0-0 at home.
St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks -- There's plenty at stake with these Central Division powers clashing in Chicago. The Blues would clinch the division title with a win of any kind, while the Blackhawks can clinch a playoff berth with a victory and a Phoenix loss in regulation. The Blackhawks are 3-2-0 in the evenly matched season series and have taken both games at United Center this season. The Blues hold a two-point lead against the Vancouver Canucks for first in the West.
Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders -- The Penguins are looking for revenge after Tuesday's 5-3 home loss to the Islanders, who previously hadn't won in Pittsburgh since December 2007. The Penguins are five points back of the New York Rangers for first place in the East and have played one fewer game. A second straight regulation loss to the Isles would likely force the Pens to turn their attention to holding off the Flyers, who enter the night just four points back for the No. 4 seed. Defenseman Kris Letang will his miss his second straight game with a lower-body injury.
Philadelphia Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs -- It will be Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes as Philly tries to make a push for fourth place while holding off the sixth-place Devils. Starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov (foot) was injured in Monday's loss to the Lightning. The Leafs are mired in a 10-game home losing streak, and the Flyers have won four straight at Air Canada Centre dating to April 6, 2010.
Florida Panthers at Minnesota Wild -- The Southeast-leading Panthers hold a five-point lead on the Capitals and have a chance of waking up Friday with a seven-point lead in the division. The Caps have a tough matchup in Boston, while the Panthers are playing a team that's 11-28-7 since Dec. 10.