When the Boston Bruins take on the Washington Capitals tonight, the Caps will be without their top two point scorers – Nicklas Backstrom (injured) and Alex Ovechkin, who was suspended for three-games
for his hit on Zbynek Michalek.
But even without Backstrom (13-29-42) and Ovechkin (20-19-39), Head Coach Claude Julien said he still expects a lot of offensive output from Washington.
“We know they’re a good offensive team, whether they’re missing Ovechkin, whether they’re missing a few players they still have enough on their roster to score goals and that’s been their strength for years,” Julien said. “So missing a few players is not going to stop them from scoring goals so we have to be good defensively and continue to play our game.”
Washington, whose 25-19-3 (53) record is good enough for second in the Southeast Conference, has also tightened up their defensive game too, according to Julien.
“We see them doing what most teams do around the league now, collapsing and overloading the one side of the ice in the d zone and certainly that structure is there,” he said. “You can see the goals against (2.81) are going down so you have to respect that part of their team.”
On Sunday, the Bruins (31-13-2, 64) pulled away from the Philadelphia Flyers with a 6-5 shootout victory after folding a 3-1 lead in the second period.
Forward Tyler Seguin
, who notched the shootout winner, said the team has to be more consistent with the effort against Washington.
“We have to come out and play a full 60 minutes a bit better than we did in Philly,” Seguin said. “[We have] to come out how we did against Philly and stay like that for the whole game.”
Coupled with Sunday’s win, the team’s visit to the White House yesterday should help the team carry some momentum into the tonight’s game.
“I think so. Yeah, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Seguin said. “We had a big day yesterday as a team, and it’s nice when you have a day like that you can carry it into a game with positive momentum.”
However, defenseman Adam McQuaid
said that while he’s enjoyed the last two days, it’s a new game tonight.
“Again it’s something we’ve done a real good job [this year] – taking it day by day,” he said. “We’ve moved past Sunday, moved past yesterday and each day presents different challenges. We’ll get refocused for today.”
With the All-Star break in the cross hairs, McQuaid stressed the significance of playing hard against Washington before enjoying the five-day break.
Once the game is over, he said the team can relax but until then, it’s all business.
“There’s no better way than to go into the break with a win,” McQuaid said. “And that’s part of being a professional – the break doesn’t start until tomorrow so today is another day we need to come ready to work hard and there’s nothing to save.
"We have a lot of time to rest after this, so just put your best effort on the ice tonight and leave it all out there.” ---Anthony Gulizia