WASHINGTON -- The Boston Bruins were shut out in all three of their games against the Washington Capitals last season but they've put that behind them and are determined to have better results this season, starting Thursday when they face the Capitals at Verizon Center (7 p.m. ET; NESN, CSN-DC).
"It would be nice to score a goal against those guys, it's been a long time, but last year is a long way gone and it's a new season," Bruins forward David Krejci said. "We've been feeling pretty confident up front; we've got some good offense going, so we've got to keep it going. On the other hand, they have a really good team. They have some fast and skilled forwards up front, so we're going to have to take care of our own end and get some chances from there."
The Bruins rank third in the NHL in goals (42) and want to keep that going against the Capitals. Boston hasn't scored a regular-season goal against Washington since March 29, 2014, a game the Bruins won 4-2.
"I don't think players have talked about it," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We haven't talked about it. I think it's a lot about us coming in here playing our game, game in, game out. [Capitals goalie Braden Holtby's] been very good against us. That doesn't always lie on us, more that you run into a hot goaltender. We need to focus more on just playing our game and we've been scoring goals this year; let's make sure we continue to do that against these guys."
Holtby became the second goaltender since 1968 and the first in Capitals history to have three shutouts against the Bruins in one season. The Capitals were the first team in NHL history to win every game of a season series of at least three games by a shutout.
Holtby is 7-2-0 in his career against the Bruins.
"I don't think we should focus too much on Holtby, just treat him like every other goaltender, put pucks on net, get some traffic, create some rebounds," Krejci said. "If he doesn't see the puck, he can't stop it. We're going to have to do a pretty good job at it tonight."
Forward Michael Latta will replace Chandler Stephenson in the lineup against Boston in an effort to jumpstart the Capitals' bottom six. He'll center the fourth line and will be flanked by Brooks Laich and Tom Wilson.
"He brings an element, that sort of 'get under your skin,' he's got good hands and I think he can play the wall as well," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said of Latta. "I'm trying to turn him into a little bit more of a utility guy, where if he can play multiple positions, that's really easy to have him in the lineup."
Here are the projected lineups:
Alex Khokhlachev - David Krejci - Loui Eriksson
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Brett Connolly
Matt Beleskey - Ryan Spooner - Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo - Joonas Kemppainen - Tyler Randell
Zdeno Chara - Kevan Miller
Joe Morrow - Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug - Colin Miller
Injured: Chris Kelly (broken leg), David Pastrnak (foot), Dennis Seidenberg (back surgery)
Scratched: Zach Trotman, Max Talbot
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Justin Williams
Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Andre Burakovsky
Brooks Laich- Michael Latta - Tom Wilson
Brooks Orpik - John Carlson
Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner
Dmitry Orlov - Nate Schmidt
Injured: Chris Brown (hand)
Scratched: Chandler Stephenson, Stanislav Galiev, Taylor Chorney
Status update: Kelly had surgery Wednesday for a broken left femur sustained Nov. 3 and is expected to miss 6-8 months.
Who's hot: Ovechkin has four points in his past four games. Williams has three points in his past three games. … Colin Miller has four points in his past four games. Krejci leads the Bruins in points with 15 and goals with seven.