BOSTON — The Boston Bruins close out the regular season Saturday afternoon at TD Garden against the Washington Capitals — owners of the NHL’s best record.
It’s an important game for the B’s. A win assures they won’t have to face the Caps in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Washington is a bad matchup for Boston on several levels — Caps goalie Braden Holtby is 11-2-0 versus the Bruins in his career — and the Capitals have owned the B’s head-to-head over the last several seasons.
Beating the Caps won’t be easy, especially without defenseman Torey Krug, who left Thursday’s shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators with a lower body injury in the first period. Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed Friday that Krug won’t play Saturday. Cassidy also revealed fourth-line forward Noel Acciari is out with an upper body injury.
Saturday will mark the NHL debut of B’s center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, who signed his entry-level contract earlier in the week. He was one of Boston’s second-round draft picks in 2015.
Here are the projected lineups for Saturday’s game.
BOSTON BRUINS (44-30-7)
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
Colin Miller–Kevan Miller
WASHINGTON CAPITALS (54-18-8)
Alex Ovechkin–Nicklas Backstrom–T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson–Evgeny Kuznetsov–Justin Williams
Brett Connolly–Lars Eller–Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik–Jay Beagle–Tom Wilson
Dmitry Orlov–Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik–Kevin Shattenkirk
Karl Alzner–Nate Schmidt
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images