As the Hockey Gods continue to smile down upon the boys in Black and Gold, tonight’s match-up against the Washington Capital in Boston will prove to be a mighty test. Ovechkin and crew have managed to defeat Bergeron and Co. 13 straight times. Could tonight mark the end of the Bruins drought against Washington? For the surging Boston team, who are coming off a five game winning streak, things are heading in the right direction.
“The easiest way to beat a team you haven’t is to defend really well, keep the puck out of your net…”Coach Bruce Cassidy
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy announced yesterday that goaltender Jaroslav Halak will get the start in net despite the recent hot play by Tuukka Rask. Halak had recently helped the Bruins break ANOTHER losing game streak against the Anaheim Ducks (nine to be specific). The Bruins won that game 3-1, and the thinking process is that once again Halak, who has certainly earned his stripes this season, will lead the charge against the Capitals.
GAME NOTES: BOSTON
The Bruins have now outscored their opponents 19-9 and have a healthy record of 25-14-4 and are 4-0 at home. The Washington Capitals, who are defending Stanley Cup Champions, have a record of 26-12-4 and currently sit at the 1st spot position in the Metro Division; Boston is in 3rd in the Atlantic, still two points behind Toronto. Captain Alex Ovechkin leads the Caps in points with 47 and leads the league with 30 goals. David Pastrnak still leads the Bruins with 52 points, with Brad Marchand second at 47 points.
Boston is looking to win their sixth consecutive game tonight and is this close to being completely healthy. Defenseman Charlie McAvoy recently skated and looks to be making a return soon after finishing treatment for a foot infection, while Joakim Nordstrom is still out with fractured fibula.
The power trio of Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak has a combined to score 55 goals in 43 games. The Bruins power play is 3rd in the league at 28.5%, while the Capitals are in 10th in the league at 21.5%. Boston is 11th in the league for the power-kill at 81.1%, with Washington sitting a little lower in 22nd place at 78.0%
GAME NOTES: WASHINGTON
Tonight’s game marks the beginning of a four-game road trip for the Caps. They started the New Year with two losses, however recovered fairly quickly to win two straight. In their recent win against the Philadelphia Flyers, forward Jakub Vrana had a three-point game with two goals and one assist; a first for his NHL career. Goaltender Phoenix Copley made 37 saves for a career-high 10th win. The team leads the NHL in goals (61) and have defeated their Eastern Conference opponents 15 out of the their last 16 games played. Washington also has a 20-plus goal differential in the second period; a record that is second to Tampa Bay.
Look for goaltender Braden Holtby to get the start tonight. In 29 games played, he has a .910 save percentage with a 2.89 GAA. Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak currently has a .929 save percentage with a 2.36 GAA in 23 games; he is third in the league for save percentage.
WHEN: Tonight at TD Garden with puck drop at 7:00 PM
WHERE TO WATCH: ESPN +, NESN, NBCSWA