But they're still not the coldest team that will be taking the ice at the Garden on Saturday night. Visiting Washington is mired in an even worse slump, as the Capitals have lost seven in a row.
Washington still has a one-point lead in the Southeast Division, and the Bruins aren't going to take the high-powered Caps lightly just because they've been misfiring lately.
"It's always the same thing, no matter who you are, when teams go through those things, and we went through it last year, there's desperate and fragile, and you can go either way," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "For us it's a matter of making sure we get a good start and play a good game and hopefully put them on the fragile side."
Boston Bruins (16-10-4, 36 points) vs. Washington Capitals (18-11-4, 40 points)
Dec. 18, 7 p.m. (NESN)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
• After veteran Bruins forward Mark Recchi played his 1,600th career game on Wednesday in Buffalo, the milestones kept coming on Thursday. Defenseman Andrew Ference played his 600th career game in the bruins' 4-3 loss to Montreal, while forward Michael Ryder played his 500th career game against his old team.
• The Capitals' usually potent offense has sputtered through its recent losing streak, with Washington scoring just nine goals in the last seven games. Four of those came in a 5-4 shootout loss to Toronto, while they've also been shut out twice and scored just one goal three times in that span.
• Washington's top players have struggled most of all in this recent stretch. Alex Ovechkin has just three points and is a minus-3 in the last seven games, Nicklas Backstrom has no goals and four assists and is a minus-5 in that span and Alexander Semin had no goals, just two assists and was a minus-1 in his last six before missing the last game with the flu.
• Capitals defenseman John Erskine was rewarded for his steady defensive play with a two-year, $3-million extension on Friday. Erskine has 3-4-7 totals, a plus-3 rating and 43 PIMs in 31 games this year. Five of those penalty minutes came in a bout with Milan Lucic in October, one of three fights in the first three meetings between the clubs this year.
• There will be a few extra cameras in the building for this game, as HBO continues to follow the Capitals and Penguins on the road to this year's Winter Classic in Pittsburgh with an all-access, behind-the-scenes looks at the clubs on their 24/7 program. Coach Bruce Boudreau was the breakout star in the first episode on Wednesday with his profanity-laced tirades at his slumping team, but even the Caps' opponents know they could get their 15 minutes of fame — or infamy — with their performances in front of the HBO cameras. "Hopefully I'm not on the highlights for it," said Bruins rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer. "Or hopefully I'm doing something right out there if I show up on it."
The Bruins close out their season series with Washington Saturday at the Garden. Boston won the first two games 3-1 and 4-1 in a home-and-home sweep in October, but dropped a 5-3 decision in Washington on Nov. 5. The Bruins would love to take the season series with a win in this one, and end their three-game slide while extending Washington's slump in the process.
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