NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 28th (All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (39-18-5) at Boston Bruins (42-12-8), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Losing six of seven apparently didn't sit too well with the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins. Having scored 12 goals in its last two games, Boston will host the always-dangerous Washington Capitals this afternoon at TD Banknorth Garden.
The Bruins have had the best record in the conference for a good portion of the season and are challenging the San Jose Sharks for the Presidents' Trophy, awarded to the team that finishes the regular season with the most points. However, Boston stumbled a bit over a two-week span, going just 1-4-2 from February 7-22.
The Bruins were held to two goals or fewer in four of those games, getting shut out twice. Boston, though, has answered with a pair of six-goal outbursts, defeating Florida, 6-1, on Tuesday prior to Thursday's 6-0 victory over Anaheim.
Chuck Kobasew scored twice, Michael Ryder added two goals and an assist while Matt Hunwick and Byron Bitz also tallied for the Bruins, who have won the first two games of a six-game homestand and improved to 21-4-4 as the host this year. Boston also notched its 42nd win of the season after winning 41 games a season ago.
Tim Thomas recorded his fourth shutout of the season with 35 saves. It also marked the 100th win of his career and 11th career whitewash.
Aaron Ward missed Thursday's game due to illness and is questionable for today's game, as are both Marc Savard and Milan Lucic due to upper-body ailments.
Boston, which trails San Jose by a point for the best mark in the league, allowed Washington to close the gap a bit for the top record in the East. However, the Bruins have pushed their edge to nine points over the Capitals in the standings.
Washington hits the road after a 3-2-0 homestand that ended on Thursday with a 4-3 victory over Atlanta. Alexander Semin had a goal and two assists to pace the offense, while Mike Green added a goal and an assist. Michal Neuvirth stopped 21 shots in giving starter Jose Theodore a breather.
Nicklas Backstrom extended his point streak to eight games with an assist, giving him three goals and eight helpers over the run. Alex Ovechkin, the NHL's leading goal scorer with 44, added an assist to give him five points over his last three games in addition to 17 goals and nine helpers for 26 points over his last 18 games.
Washington has won three of its last four on the road and is 14-12-4 overall as the visiting club. Following today's road test, the Capitals return home for four straight contests.
The Capitals are 2-0-1 versus Boston this year, winning the first two contests at home before a 3-2 overtime setback at TD Banknorth Garden on January 27. It marked the club's fifth straight loss in Beantown and the Caps are just 1-10 with two ties in their last 13 trips to Boston.
The Bruins have won seven of the last 11 meetings in the series overall.
02/28 10:38:24 ET