The Bruins host a Washington club desperate to snap a seven-game losing streak Saturday night at the Garden.
That desperation, coupled with the abundance of talent on the Capitals' roster, makes Washington a dangerous foe for the Bruins, but Boston coach Claude Julien expects his own club to play with plenty of desperation as they attempt to halt a three-game skid of their own.
"Well, there's that, but there's also our own situation where we're winless in the last three, so we've got to show some determination and some resilience here to turn that over," said Julien after the morning skate. "We have to play better right from the get go. Everybody knows that. It's been well publicized and talked about, so our starts are so crucial for us. That's what we need tonight. Usually, when you have a good start it kind of puts our team in the right frame of mind and usually gives us the opportunity to play a solid 60 minutes."
Tim Thomas (14-3-3, 1.63 GAA, .951 save percentage) was the first goalie off the ice at the skate, indicating he'll likely get the start in this one. Washington is expected to counter with Michal Neuvirth (12-5-2, 2.68 GAA, .908 save percentage).
Tyler Seguin is expected to stay in the lineup after returning Thursday in Montreal from a two-game absence, missing last Saturday's game with Philadelphia with the flu and Wednesday's contest in Buffalo as a healthy scratch. But Seguin stated after the skate that he had not yet been informed whether he would play or not in this one.
The Capitals have more decisions to make, as Alexander Semin did not make the trip to Boston and will be out for this game with a lower-body injury. The Caps have also been hit hard by a flu bug. Defensemen Scott Hannan and Tyler Sloan have both battling the illness, though they skated Saturday morning. Hannan is expected to play, though Sloan stayed out for extra work after the skate and is expected to be a scratch along with forwards Eric Fehr and D.J. King.
Projected Bruins lines:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Mark Recchi-Patrice Bergeron-Blake Wheeler
Tyler Seguin-Marc Savard-Michael Ryder
Brad Marchand-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Steven Kampfer
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: Daniel Paille, Mark Stuart (hand)
Projected Capitals lines:
Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Mike Knuble
Brooks Laich-Mathieu Perreault-Andrew Gordon
Jason Chimera-Marcus Johansson-Jay Beagle
Matt Hendricks-David Steckel-Matt Bradley
Karl Alzner-Mike Green
Scott Hannan-John Carlson
John Erskine-Tom Poti
Scratches: Alexander Semin (lower body), Eric Fehr, D.J. King, Tyler Sloan