WASHINGTON D.C. — The Bruins have struggled against the Capitals.
Every number points to an unbalanced dominance: the record, Braden Holtby’s stats against Boston, absolutely everything. The only time the Bruins have defeated the 2018-19 Stanley Cup champions was last February when Tuukka Rask shut the door on a 1-0 victory.
Washington has had the advantage against the Bruins since the 2012 postseason when the Capitals won in Game 7 of overtime at TD Garden. That was the B’s first introduction to Holtby.
They can’t turn back time and change any of the results, but the Bruins still believe they can compete with the team that’s given them fits over the past decade.
For now, they’re just focused on rebounding after two horrible losses in a row.
“We all are aware – every man in that room, all the coaches know – we’re not playing to our standard every night,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We get pockets of it like a lot teams, but that’s our goal now, to get to standard.”
The Bruins are strong enough to compete with good teams like the Capitals, who had been on a six-game winning streak before they faltered on Monday night. Entering Tuesday the power play, typically their strength, has been a struggle, so getting back to that operating as one of — if not, the — best unit in the league has to be one of the most important things they can do.
This is a game most hockey fans in general should have circled as a potential Eastern Conference Finals preview. Both teams are trying to find themselves, but that’s what makes it interesting.
Cassidy said there would be a change on the backend potentially with John Moore as they try to continue to ease him in after coming back from shoulder surgery in the offseason.
David Pastrnak leads the league with 25 goals, but Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals is right behind him with 21 for one of the most marquee goal-scorer matchups of the season across the entire league.
Former Capital Jaroslav Halak gets the start in net with Tuukka Rask slated to start on Thursday night in Tampa Bay.
About the Capitals
The Capitals (22-5-5) are coming off a brutal 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets on Monday night, the same score the Bruins had in their loss to Ottawa the same night.
That was likely Washington’s worst performance of the season. It’s easy to imagine they’ll be up to face the team trailing them by three points in the standings with a game in hand.
Last time the Capitals and Bruins faced off was mid-November, when Washington scored late in the third period to force overtime and eventually took the shootout victory.
The Caps lead the NHL with 114 goals and have the second highest shooting percentage with 11.3 percent.