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Bruins-Capitals Preview @NHLdotcom
Bruins-Capitals Preview

GAME: Boston Bruins (18-21-8) at Washington Capitals (17-24-5).

TIME: Monday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Washington Capitals, winners of a season-high four straight, hope a much-deserved day off doesn't slow down their scoring surge as they meet the Boston Bruins.

Capitals coach Glen Hanlon canceled practice Sunday after his team halted Carolina's nine-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory on Saturday. The Hurricanes are tied with Ottawa for the most points in the NHL.

"We've proven that certainly we can compete with the best teams in the league," said Caps center Brian Sutherby, who had two assists. "Through and through, I thought we played a very good game."

Clearly, Hanlon agreed. Following the game, the greaseboard in Washington's locker room read: "Day off. Spend your money."

Washington averaged just 2.6 goals per game before winning its last four contests, a stretch during which it has outscored opponents 18-9. A victory Monday would give the Capitals their longest win streak since a five-game run from March 3-11, 2001.

Matt Pettinger and Brooks Laich both had a goal and an assist on Saturday for Washington, which did not allow Carolina to score in nine power-play opportunities. The Capitals entered the game as the worst penalty-killing team in the league.

Alexander Ovechkin's goal-scoring streak ended after five games, but he assisted on two goals. The rookie star has nine goals and seven assists during an eight-game points streak.

Olaf Kolzig made 31 saves on Saturday despite throwing up between periods, and improved to 10-9-4 at home this season. He's won back-to-back starts after a personal six-game losing streak.

Boston is coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday, and has gone to overtime in three of its last four games.

The Bruins are 0-4 in shootouts, and have only two shootout goals.

"It really boils down to individual achievement, I guess," Boston coach Mike Sullivan said. "Some players have skills in shootout-type situations. It's something we do on a weekly basis for the goaltenders and players. I don't know what else we can do to simulate this in practice."

Marco Sturm scored his team-leading 17th goal on Saturday, and has four goals in the last three games.

Goalie Tim Thomas started his fourth consecutive game in place of Andrew Raycroft, who allowed 11 goals in losing his last two starts.

Thomas is 2-0-2 with a 1.91 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in his last four starts.

"I'm doing the best I can and the team's playing really well for me so that's all you can ask for as a goalie," Thomas said. "They're helping me a lot and I'm trying to help them as much as I can."

STANDINGS: Bruins - 44 points, 5th place, 24 PB, Northeast Division. Capitals - 39 points, 5th place, 29 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Sturm, 17 goals; Patrice Bergeron, 23 assists and 37 points; Hal Gill, 64 PIM. Capitals - Ovechkin, 33 goals, 29 assists and 62 points; Brendan Witt, 117 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Bruins - Power play: 16.0 percent (40 for 250), 21st in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.9 percent (245 for 292), 11th. Capitals - Power play: 13.8 percent (39 for 282), 28th. Penalty killing: 78.9 percent (258 for 327), 28th.

GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Raycroft (7-16-2, 0 SO, 3.68 GAA); Thomas (2-0-2, 1.91). Capitals - Kolzig (13-18-5, 3.37); Brent Johnson (4-5-0, 4.20).

SEASON SERIES: Bruins, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 27; Bruins, 4-3, OT. At Washington, the Bruins outshot the Capitals 43-18 and Brad Stuart scored in overtime.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 9-12-4 on the road; Capitals - 11-11-4 at home.

Associated Press

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