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Preview: Capitals at Bruins

Boston can claim second in Atlantic; Washington aiming for strong finish heading to playoffs

by Matt Kalman / NHL.com Correspondent

CAPITALS (54-18-8) at BRUINS (44-30-7)

3 p.m. ET; NBC, NHL.TV

 

Capitals team scope

The Washington Capitals have clinched the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but coach Barry Trotz does not want to see them let up in their final two regular-season games. "I said three things to the guys after the skate [Friday]: Be on the plane [to Boston], let's make sure we play right, and let's finish strong," Trotz said. The Capitals have won three straight and are 9-1-0 in their past 10 games. "You want to feel confident going into the playoffs. I think that's the biggest thing," Trotz said. "We've played some very meaningful games, we played them the right way, and we've gotten good results. I think that's really helped the confidence. ... You just want to be committed to getting ready for the playoffs. You'll probably have three or four days after we're done [with the regular season], so you don't want to just shut it down and then things cool down for six, seven days and then crank it up again." Defenseman John Carlson will miss his third straight game with a lower-body injury. Forward Brett Connolly didn't practice Friday and is out with an illness. The Capitals finish their regular season at home against the Florida Panthers on Sunday.

Bruins team scope

Boston can guarantee a top-three finish in the Atlantic Division with a win. The third-place Bruins, 6-0-1 in their past seven games, lead the Toronto Maple Leafs by two points and trail the second-place Ottawa Senators by one point; Ottawa and Toronto each has one game in hand. The Senators host the New York Rangers on Saturday, and the Maple Leafs are home against the Pittsburgh Penguins. With 42 regulation/overtime wins, Boston holds the first tiebreaker over Ottawa (37) and Toronto (38). "We want to win -- I believe that would make us second or third," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "That's our goal; we'll see how it plays out." Forward Brad Marchand will serve the second of his two-game suspension for spearing Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin on Tuesday. Defenseman Torey Krug is day to day with a lower-body injury sustained in the first period of a 2-1 shootout loss to the Senators on Thursday. "Well we're not going to be able to replace what he does. He's a special talent," Cassidy said. "The onus will be on us [Saturday] to just make sure we make the necessary reads on our breakout." Backup goaltender Anton Khudobin will attempt to win his seventh consecutive start.

 

Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams

Paul Carey -- Lars Eller -- Andre Burakovsky

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- Nate Schmidt

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Philipp Grubauer

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Taylor Chorney

Injured: John Carlson (lower body), Brett Connolly (illness)

 

Bruins projected lineup

Ryan Spooner -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Backes

Frank Vatrano -- David Krejci -- David Pastrnak

Matt Beleskey -- Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson -- Drew Stafford

Tim Schaller -- Dominic Moore -- Riley Nash

Zdeno Chara -- Brandon Carlo

John-Michael Liles -- Adam McQuaid

Kevan Miller -- Colin Miller

Anton Khudobin

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: Joe Morrow, Sean Kuraly

Injured: Jimmy Hayes (lower body), Torey Krug (lower body), Noel Acciari (upper body)

Suspended: Brad Marchand

Status report

Carey, a native of nearby Weymouth, Massachusetts, will play his first NHL game in his hometown. ... Acciari was injured Thursday and is day to day. Cassidy said he wasn't sure who would replace Acciari, but Forsbacka-Karlsson could make his NHL debut. He left Boston University after his sophomore season and signed his entry-level contract last Sunday. "I'm ready to go, absolutely," Forsbacka-Karlsson said. "But that's obviously going to be up to the coaches."

Who's hot

Backstrom has 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in his past 13 games. ... Johansson has 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in his past eight games. ... Oshie has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in his past 10 games. ... Pastrnak has 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in his past 21 games.

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