WASHINGTON -- The Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals each have something to prove when they play Wednesday at Verizon Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports).
Boston continues his pursuit of a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins are currently the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. The Ottawa Senators' 4-3 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday made the race even tighter. The Bruins and Senators each have 95 points, but Boston has played one fewer game and has two more regulation/overtime wins. The Bruins are also two points behind the Detroit Red Wings for third place in the Atlantic Division.
"We control our own destiny," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "It's a test to do our jobs, and if we do our jobs, we'll be fine. It's gonna be a man's game tonight, and if you want to play this kind of game, you've got to be ready to put everything on the line. That urgency has been here for quite a while."
The Bruins bring a five-game win streak to their final regular-season game against the Capitals, and Julien said his strategy will be to have a better start and more effective puck management.
Boston also needs some offense. The Capitals have shut out the Bruins in each of their first two games this season.
"Every year is a different situation," Boston forward Chris Kelly said. "That's the great thing about playing hockey. You get to experience new challenges and new experiences. We're in this situation because of ourselves, and we still hold our fate in our hands.
"That's why we play hockey. You don't play to play meaningless hockey, you play to play with purpose. There's nothing better than playing 82 to games that have purpose, so this is fun."
For Washington, a win moves them closer to securing home-ice advantage in the Eastern Conference First Round. The Capitals lead the Islanders by one point for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby will make his NHL-leading 71st start of the season. He is the first goalie to record 40 wins and play in at least 70 games since Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators did so in 2011-12. Holtby has two shutouts against Boston this season.
Capitals forward Stanislav Galiev will make his NHL debut. Galiev was recalled on an emergency basis from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League to replace injured forward Tom Wilson.
Here are the projected lineups:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron –Loui Eriksson
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Chris Kelly– Ryan Spooner – Reilly Smith
Gregory Campbell – Carl Soderberg – Brett Connolly
Zdeno Chara - Zach Trotman
Matt Bartkowski - Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug - Joe Morrow
Scratched: Daniel Paille, Max Talbot
Injured: Dougie Hamilton (undisclosed), Kevan Miller (right shoulder)
Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Joel Ward
Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – Troy Brouwer
Curtis Glencross – Brooks Laich – Jason Chimera
Andre Burakovsky – Michael Latta – Stanislav Galiev
Brooks Orpik – John Carlson
Matt Niskanen – Karl Alzner
Mike Green – Tim Gleason
Injured: Tom Wilson (head injury), Eric Fehr (upper body), Jay Beagle (upper body), John Erskine (neck surgery)
Status report: Beagle participated in Washington's morning skate and said he expects to return to the lineup for the playoffs. Wilson did not skate. Fehr and Erskine skated after Washington's morning skate. … Hamilton did not travel with the Bruins for the three games remaining in the regular season, Julien said.
Who's hot: Green has three points in his past two games, including two goals. … Eriksson and Bergeron each have three points in their past five games.