BOSTON - The Bruins will lineup across from Washington at Capital One Arena on Sunday afternoon looking to break a lengthy losing streak to their Metropolitan division foes. Coming off a pair of hard-fought overtime losses, the B's will make a few lineup adjustments in search of a different outcome.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy noted on Saturday that Danton Heinen will come out of the lineup.
"Yeah, Noel will probably go in back with [Sean] Kuraly and [Chris] Wagner," said Cassidy. "I thought they were real effective last time we played them. Noel tends to play better against those heavier teams. That's a bit of the thinking there."
Cassidy discussed Heinen's confidence after some tough against the Flyers.
"I think after the last play the other night it does [affect his confidence]," said Cassidy. "Got the puck on your stick with basically an empty net, game-winning goal and it hops over. You start getting in your own head I think when that happens. That's just tough luck there. He's in the right spot, did everything right to win the puck and then to just - I suspect it would a little bit.
"We have to try to help him through that. I think that again, the individual has to - like a lot of guys that have been in this league a long time - he's going to have to play through those situations. I think he's done a good job. Doesn't carry it into his overall play, he's still doing his job away from the puck. He just hopefully gets something good happening for him offensively."
On the third line, Joakim Nordstrom will play alongside Trent Frederic and David Backes.
"[Nordstrom] went with Fredy and Backes," said Cassidy. "Adds a little dimensional speed there. A little experience. Again, it keeps Kuraly, Acciari and Wagner together. Their offensive game has been - I don't want to say dropped off but they haven't created as much but they're still effective and hard. Hopefully they get back to creating a little more."
Video: Cassidy talks lineup adjustments ahead of WSH
Blue Line Shuffle
After sitting out as a healthy scratch, Matt Grzelcyk will return to the lineup against Washington.
"Griz [Matt Grzelcyk} and Moore," said Cassidy of the defenders who will switch places. "Again we're trying to find the right mix and I think Griz has been good for us and effective against that forecheck as well."
Matt Grzelcyk will rejoin Kevan Miller on the third pairing.
"Griz and Miller have always been a good pair," said Cassidy. "We're trying to fit Johnny in there with Kevan. If Griz comes out to keep it continuity sake. Again, we're going to keep searching until we feel we're where we want to be. That doesn't always mean
Griz and Johnny, that's just kind of the case right now and we'll see down the road."
Cassidy lamented the self-inflicted wounds after the loss to the Flyers and hopes the team can solve that problem on Sunday.
"The self inflicted ones I think have really hurt us in the past two weeks," said Cassidy. "We've talked about that. Good teams don't beat themselves. We want to consider ourselves a good team, but we have to prove it. I think that's first and foremost, especially against a team we've had trouble with. Defending champs. They've got plenty of firepower, they'll take advantage.
"It happens throughout the course of the year. It just happened to bite us in the third period the other night. So, they kind have been compounded lately. I would say a cleaner game when it comes to those little things and then hopefully, we're good enough to do enough little things to win."
Bruins defenseman Torey Krug believes relying on good habits will be crucial.
"If we play from inside the dots out, start with that, tight gaps, allow our skating legs to take over and we'll be ok," said Krug. "We've done it over the years many, many times. It'll take care of itself, we just have to work through it."
Against the Flyers, the Bruins started strong and claimed the early lead.
"We're starting really well right now in games," said Krug. "I know we've talked about trying to extend leads. That's become a problem for us. The positive is the way we came out firing [Friday]. It was good. We had our skating legs early, we played a great first period. That's probably a good mindset playing Washington. Just getting out there and getting the lead and going from there. Anytime you fall behind those guys it's tough. The good start was great."
Video: Krug discusses on snapping streak vs. Caps
The Bruins have lost 14 consecutive games to the Capitals dating back to Mar. 24, 2019. Most recently, the B's fell on Jan. 10 at TD Garden by a score of 4-2, despite holding a 41-22 shot advantage.
"I don't think it matters too much," said Krug. "Regardless of winning streaks or losing streaks or whatever, you play the game that's in front of you and it's a tough matchup. It's been a tough matchup for us for years and they have a little bit of swagger against us so it's about going out tomorrow and trying to flip the script and it's something that like I said before, we're just going to grind it out and try to play a good road game and come out of there with two points."
The Capitals are coming off 4-3 win against the Calgary Flames which snapped a seven-game losing streak.
"At the end of the day, they were having a tough go," said Cassidy. "They won last night so they're probably feeling better about themselves than they were maybe 24 hours ago. I thought we played really well here against them last time. Easily could have won the game. Went down to the third period and they finished a play, we didn't. I think our guys know that. We're a lot closer than we were opening night that's for sure. We're healthy as we've every been, so really no excuses."
Brad Marchand feels Sunday is a good time to snap out of the streak.
"Anytime is as good as any," said Marchand. "It's crazy the way it's played out. We've had some really good games against them and it just hasn't gone our way. It's just a matter of time. None of those games mean anything tomorrow. It's a new game every game. Everyone has the same opportunity to win and compete. Sometimes you get better bounces than the other teams, sometimes you don't. We're going to go work hard and compete and hopefully it goes our way."
Alex Ovechkin leads the way for the Capitals in the offensive end. His 37 goals rank first across the NHL and his 57 points rank tops on his team. Nicklas Backstrom follows closely behind (13-39=52), with Norris trophy candidate John Carlson in third place (8-40=48). The Caps currently sit third in the Metropolitan division with 62 points in 51 games.