The Bruins are down in Washington, where they are looking to regain the lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series after the Capitals wrested home ice away with a split of the first two games in Boston.
"It's big coming back," Capitals forward Matt Hendricks told reporters in Washington after the team's practice on Sunday. "Now we have home ice and it turns into a five-game series."
Home ice hasn't meant much this postseason, with the home teams just 8-11 so far in the playoffs. The Bruins were also a solid 25-15-1 on the road this season, and with their veteran leadership and experience aren't likely to be intimidated playing anywhere.
The bigger issue is getting something going offensively after managing just two goals, both from the third line, in the first two games. They've also only allowed two goals, but won't have the last change in Washington and will a harder time making sure Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg are on the ice at all times opposite Alex Ovechkin.
Both teams are looking for more offense, especially with the man advantage. The Bruins' power play is struggling mightily once again in the playoffs, opening the series 0-for-6. But Boston’s penalty kill has kept Washington from gaining any edge in special teams, with the Capitals also 0-for-5 on the power play. Whichever team can break through first could have a huge edge in the series.
"The thing I've liked is we haven't allowed them to score so far," Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters at the Verizon Center in Washington after Monday's morning skate. "But you certainly don't want to play with fire. They've got all the ammunition that they want to have it succeed. We can talk about our power play not scoring, but right now it's been even. No power play has scored and both penalty kill units on both teams have done a good job.
"It's a real tight and dead-even series right now," Julien added. "Somewhere along the way, one of the team is going to get an edge here, and hopefully we'll keep working on making it our edge."
Neither team is planning any lineup changes in looking for that edge. Reports out of Washington had Jordan Caron and Mike Mottau staying on the ice for extra work after the morning skate, indicating they will likely remain the healthy scratches for Boston. Adam McQuaid will also remain out. He did not make the trip to Washington as he continues to deal with an upper-body injury.
The Capitals appear to be sticking with their same lineup as well, keeping veteran forward Mike Knuble and young defenseman Dmitry Orlov among their healthy scratches.
The goaltending matchup will remain the same as well, with Tim Thomas and Braden Holtby manning the opposing nets. Tuukka Rask (abdominal/groin tear) did make the trip, but Anton Khudobin is expected to remain the backup for the Bruins.
Michal Neuvirth (leg) and Tomas Vokoun each skated briefed on Monday morning, but Dany Sabourin is expected to dress again as Holtby's backup, and Holtby's strong play in the first two games will likely keep him in net even if either of the club's other goalies are cleared to return.
Chris Lee and Wes McCauley will be the referees, with Brian Murphy and Tony Sericolo working the lines.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon-Joe Corvo
Scratches: Adam McQuaid (upper body), Nathan Horton (concussion), Tuukka Rask (groin), Mike Mottau, Jordan Caron
Projected Capitals lines
Alex Ovechkin-Brooks Laich-Troy Brouwer
Marcus Johansson-Nicklas Backstrom-Alexander Semin
Jason Chimera-Jay Beagle-Mathieu Perrault
Keith Aucoin-Matt Hendricks-Joel Ward
Karl Alzner-John Carlson
Roman Hamrlik-Mike Green
Jeff Schultz-Dennis Wideman
Scratches: John Erskine, Jeff Halpern, Mike Knuble, Cody Eakin, Dmitry Orlov, Tomas Vokoun (groin), Michal Neuvirth (leg)
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