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Capitals-Bruins Preview @NHLdotcom
Capitals-Bruins Preview

GAME: Washington Capitals (17-26-5) at Boston Bruins (20-21-8).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Boston Bruins try to match a season high with their third consecutive win and stay perfect against the Washington Capitals as the two teams meet for the second time in four days.

The Bruins have won three in a row just once this season, beating Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Florida on the road Oct. 8-13. Boston has won four of its last five overall, claiming at least one point in six consecutive games (4-0-2).

P.J. Axelsson scored the go-ahead goal with 7:02 to play in Boston's 3-2 win Tuesday at Atlanta. Patrice Bergeron had a pair of assists for the Bruins, who rallied from a 2-1 deficit.

"We've been playing consistently good for three or four weeks, but not always getting the results," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. "This group is starting to define itself."

The Bruins' strong play has coincided with a strong surge from Bergeron, who has a team-high 39 points. The second-year center has two goals and six assists in his last five games after going pointless his previous three.

Washington may have hit a low point this season with Wednesday's 8-1 beating administered by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rookie Alex Ovechkin scored the lone goal for the Capitals, who have lost consecutive games after a season-best four-game winning streak.

The Capitals have lost three games and tied one in a four-game winless streak against the Bruins since a 6-5 win Dec. 11, 2003. Ovechkin, who leads all rookies with 34 goals, has a six-game goal-scoring streak on the road, where he has totaled 17 goals in 21 games this season.

Wednesday's defeat was the 13th time the Capitals have allowed five or more goals this season, but just the second time in 2006. Washington is 1-12 in those games.

STANDINGS: Capitals - 39 points, 5th place, 33 PB, Southeast Division. Bruins - 48 points, 5th place, 22 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Ovechkin, 34 goals, 29 assists and 63 points; Brendan Witt, 123 PIM. Bruins - Marco Sturm, 18 goals; Bergeron, 25 assists and 39 points; Hal Gill, 68 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Capitals - Power play: 13.4 percent (40 for 298), 29th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.8 percent (268 for 340), 29th. Bruins - Power play: 15.5 percent (41 for 265), 24th. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (254 for 302), 9th.

GOALTENDERS: Capitals - Olaf Kolzig (13-19-5, 0 SO, 3.50 GAA); Brent Johnson (4-6-0, 0, 4.09). Bruins - Tim Thomas (4-0-2, 0, 1.94); Andrew Raycroft (7-16-2, 0, 3.68).

SEASON SERIES: Bruins, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Monday; Bruins, 3-2. At Washington, Wayne Primeau scored two goals while Brad Isbister and Eric Nicklaus had two assists for the Bruins. Johnson made 30 saves for the Capitals in the loss.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 6-14-1 on the road; Bruins - 9-9-4 at home.

Associated Press

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