The Washington Capitals could be without as many as 10 players expected to be in their line-up this season, but Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien knows that doesn’t make Caps head coach Bruce Boudreau’s team all that less dangerous for tonight’s battle at the Verizon Center.
“They compete hard and Bruce has done a good job with those guys,” Julien said before his team chartered to Washington, D.C. “He’s really turned that team around and, no matter what injuries they have, he has that team competing every night, and you just have to be careful. I’ve seen them win some big games, even with all those injuries. And we’ve been through that, we’ve seen what we were able to do with some injuries and we’re still in that situation. So it hasn’t slowed us down too much and we should expect the same thing with them.”
Injuries have forced the Caps to use 29 skaters already this season. Some of their walking wounded might be back in the line-up tonight, but it’s doubtful that the cast will include Sergei Federov, Tom Poti or John Erskine.
Player to Watch: While your eyes will obviously be glued to dynamic winger Alexander Ovechkin most of the night, it’ll pay to also keep watch of center Nicklas Backstrom, who’s a major reason the Caps still sit in first place in their division despite their rash of injuries. Backstrom has scored all eight of his goals this season during the last 14 games — seven coming in the 12 games star forward Alexander Semin has been out.
What they’re writing: Cory Masiak in the Washington Times updates defenseman Brian Pothier’s concussion situation, which was caused in part by a hit from Bruins winger Milan Lucic last season.
Quotable: Boudreau was asked by the Washington media Tuesday if he has to tell his players to keep their heads on a swivel when Lucic is on the ice.
“If I have to tell them that, they’re in trouble. They’ve seen him. The thing about hockey players, you don’t think think about it, but they watch, they all have the hockey package. They’re all in here watching every morning in the lounge the highlights. And any time Lucic gets a hit it’s on NESN because they love that. He’s a guy we have to look out for.”