Bruins Look to Build Postseason Momentum Against Capitals in Season Finale

Bruins Look to Build Postseason Momentum Against Capitals in Season Finale The Bruins are in Washington Sunday for a matinee with the newly crowned Presidents Trophy champions, the Washington Capitals.

The Caps are the top seed in the East, and with their 4-2 win over Carolina and the Canadiens losing 4-3 in overtime to the Maple Leafs, the Bruins are locked into the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff seeding.  

This game is simply a tune up and a chance at revenge for the Bruins against a team that stole a win from them in overtime almost a week ago. The only playoff question left is who the Bruins will play in the first round? The current third-seed Buffalo Sabres, or the currently second-seeded New Jersey Devils? Ironically, the two play each other at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. If the Devils win and hold on for to second place, the Bruins play Buffalo and if the Sabres win, it’s off to Newark to play the Devils.

WHEN AND WHERE

Boston Bruins (38-30-13) vs. Washington Capitals (54-15-12)
Sunday, April 11, Noon (NBC)
Verizon Center, Washington DC

HEAD TO HEAD

The Bruins played well enough to win in their last game against the Caps on April 5, but lost 3-2 on a Capitals power-play goal 44 seconds into overtime. Boston is 0-2-1 against Washington and has been out-scored 11-3 in their first three meetings.

GOALTENDING MATCHUP

Bruins
Tuukka Rask
is 22-12-5 with a League-leading 1.97 goals-against average and .931 save percentage to go with five shutouts. Rask made 33 saves in the 4-2 win over Carolina Saturday and has not lost in regulation since a 1-0 loss to Florida April 1.

Tim Thomas is 16-18-8 with a 2.55 GAA, .915 save percentage and five shutouts. He has not started since March 29 when he was pulled after the first period of a 3-2 loss to Buffalo.

Capitals
Jose Theodore
is 30-7-7 with a 2.81 GAA and .911 save percentage. He has one shutout.

Seymon Varlamov is 15-4-5 with a 2.54 GAA and .909 save percentage. He has two shutouts.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Bruins
Forwards
Milan Lucic–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Marco Sturm–David Krejci–Miroslav Satan
Blake Wheeler–Vladimir Sobotka–Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille–Steve Begin–Shawn Thornton

*The Bruins called up 2007 first-round draft pick Zach Hamill, who will play his first NHL game Sunday.

Defensemen
Zdeno Chara–Johnny Boychuk
Matt Hunwick–Dennis Wideman
Andrew Bodnarchuk–Adam McQuaid

*The Bruins recalled defenseman Jeff Penner.

Goaltenders
Tuukka Rask
Tim Thomas

Capitals
Forwards

Alex Ovechkin–Nicklas Backstrom–Alexander Semin
Brooks Laich–Brendan Morrison–Eric Fehr
Jason Chimera–Eric Belanger–Tomas Fleischmann
Quintin Laing–Boyd Gordon–Scott Walker

Defenseman
Tyler Sloan–Shaone Morrisonn
Jeff Schultz–Joe Corvo
John Carlson–Mike Green

Goaltenders
Jose Theodore
Semyon Varlamov

STAT SHEET

Bruins

  • Things are starting to turn around for Dennis Wideman as the embattled defenseman had a helper Saturday and now has a four-game point streak going with two assists and two goals during that span.
  • Captain Zdeno Chara had an assist Saturday and now has one in each of his last four games.
  • The Bruins got three shorthanded goals in a record-breaking 1:04 to open the second period Saturday. Daniel Paille, Blake Wheeler and Steve Begin had the short-handers, propelling Boston to a 3-0 lead and eventual 4-2 win. The Bruins now have allowed only 37 power play goals on 270 power plays faced and have an 86.3 percent success rate.

Capitals

  • For the third straight season Alexander Ovechkin has 50 goals and is a candidate to win his third straight Hart Trophy. Ovechkin has four goals and five points in his last two games and 109 points this season.
  • With two goals and an assist on Friday, Nicklas Backstrom cracked the century mark in points for the first time in his career. The Swedish center is on a three-game point streak with three goals and six assists. He had a goal and two assists in the Caps’ 3-2 win over the B’s April 5.
  • Alexander Semin has a four-game point-streak going with two goals and five assists in that stretch. He is third on the team in scoring with 83 points.

BLACK AND BLUE

Bruins

  • Zdeno Chara is playing with a broken nose.
  • Andrew Ference is out until at least next week with a hernia and groin injury.
  • Mark Stuart is out for two weeks following surgery for cellulitis on his right pinky finger.
  • Dennis Seidenberg had surgery for a lacerated flexor carpi radialis tendon in his left forearm and is out for eight weeks.
  • Marc Savard is out indefinitely with a Grade 2 concussion.

Capitals

  • Former Bruins defenseman Milan Jurcina is out 2-4 weeks with a hernia. 

OUTLOOK

The Bruins could easily mail it in Sunday since they are locked into the sixth seed of the Eastern Conference playoffs, but the way this season has gone, they could benefit from winning against the NHL’s best team, the Capitals and carry a three-game win streak into the playoffs.

This team has had plenty of problems maintaining momentum all season and a win against the an elite team they may face at some point if they get past the second round, could do wonders for confidence.

Yardbarker

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