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Bruins at Capitals preview

Boston, Washington face off in battle of top teams in NHL standings

by Harvey Valentine / Independent Correspondent

BRUINS (20-5-6) at CAPITALS (22-5-5)

7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS


The Game

The top two teams in the NHL standings will face off when the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins play at Capital One Arena on Wednesday.

Washington had its six-game win streak ended in a 5-2 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday but leads the NHL with 49 points. Boston is second with 46.

The Bruins lost 5-2 against the Ottawa Senators on Monday and are 0-2-1 in their past three games, their second-longest winless streak of the season; they went 0-2-2 from Nov. 5-12.

The Capitals are 15-1-0 in their past 16 games against the Bruins, including a 3-2 shootout win at Boston on Nov. 16.


Players to watch

Bruins forward David Pastrnak leads the NHL with 25 goals but has not scored in his past four games.

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is 17-3-0 with a 1.81 goals-against-average, .944 save percentage and four shutouts in 20 games against the Bruins.


They said it

"We're trying to find our game. They lost the other night, they had a big winning streak, so I don't know where they're at. I'm sure they'll be fine. We're more concerned about ourselves, but still the opposition tonight should get our attention." -- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy

"It's going to be a good matchup. Two teams coming [off] losses against teams that are lower than us in the standings. These are the games you get up for and it should be a good one." -- Capitals forward Carl Hagelin


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk -- David Krejci -- Danton Heinen

Anders Bjork -- Charlie Coyle -- Brett Ritchie

Joakim Nordstrom -- Sean Kuraly -- Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

John Moore -- Matt Grzelcyk

Jaroslav Halak

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: Connor Clifton, Par Lindholm, David Backes

Injured: Kevan Miller (knee), Zach Senyshyn (lower body), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- T.J. Oshie

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Richard Panik

Brendan Leipsic -- Nic Dowd -- Garnet Hathaway

Michal Kempny -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Nick Jensen

Jonas Siegenthaler -- Radko Gudas

Braden Holtby

Ilya Samsonov

Scratched: Travis Boyd

Injured: None


Status report

Cassidy said Rask will start in goal at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. … Boyd is a healthy scratch for the second straight game.


Stat pack

Halak is 9-10-1 with a 2.75 GAA, .904 save percentage and one shutout in 22 games against the Capitals. … The Bruins have scored three goals or fewer in each of their past seven games. … The Capitals have not lost consecutive games in regulation this season. … Backstrom has 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in his past 15 games against the Bruins.

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