Skip to main content

Bruins chase Northeast title as they visit Capitals

by Brian Hunter /

BRUINS (28-13-5) at CAPITALS (26-18-3)


Last 10: Boston 4-5-1; Washington 8-1-1

Season series: Third and final meeting of the regular season. The home team has won the first two matchups. Eric Fehr's overtime goal lifted the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 victory on March 5 at Verizon Center, while the line of Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and David Krejci combined for two goals and nine points in the Boston Bruins' 4-1 triumph on March 16 at TD Garden.

Big story: If these teams are to meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight year, it won't be in the first round like in 2012. The Capitals, winners of the Southeast Division, are locked in as the No. 3 seed, while the Bruins will finish either second or fourth, depending on whether they win the Northeast.

Team Scope:

Bruins: It's the start of a busy weekend for Boston, which returns home after this game for a make-up with Ottawa on Sunday. The Bruins hope to already have the Northeast wrapped up -- the easiest way to accomplish that would be with a win over the Capitals combined with the Canadiens losing to the Maple Leafs. It's been an uneven month of April for Claude Julien's troops, but they looked playoff-ready in Thursday's 2-0 win over the Lightning, as Tuukka Rask turned aside all 30 shots and held Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis off the board.

"That's how we have to play. That's our identity," Krejci said in the Boston Herald. "We need to be emotionally engaged and I think we did a pretty good job, and a good effort by everybody. But we have to build on it. We can't be satisfied."

Capitals: Only one team has beaten Washington this month, and Ottawa pulled off the feat for a second time Thursday night to punch its ticket to the postseason. Nevertheless, it's been a terrific in-season turnaround for Adam Oates' club in his first season as an NHL coach, and the Capitals will conclude their regular season and a three-game homestand trying to build some momentum for the playoffs. Alex Ovechkin holds a three-goal lead over Stamkos in the Rocket Richard race after scoring his 32nd of the season in the 2-1 overtime loss to the Senators.

"We gave it more," defenseman Karl Alzner told the team's official website. "Still we have more to give. I didn't see as much of our offensive zone play as we normally like to have; not as much cycles. There's still more that we could have done, but it was better than our last one."

Who's hot: Rask has shutouts in each of his past two starts for the Bruins, tying him for the League lead with five. … Ovechkin has 23 of his 32 goals over the Capitals' past 22 games.

Injury report: Boston forward Nathan Horton (hand) has missed the past three games. … Washington is without defenseman Tom Poti (upper body) and forwards Joel Ward (knee) and Brooks Laich (groin).

View More