Something will have to give at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., tonight when the team with the league’s best road points percentage — the Boston Bruins — visits the team with the league’s second-best (and the East’s top) points percentage — the Washington Capitals.
The last time these opposing forces clashed, the home-standing Capitals prevailed. That’s the last time the Bruins lost a road game. The Bruins have since won seven straight on foreign ice. They’ve also won four in a row overall, while the Caps just snapped a three-game losing streak with an emotional win over Pittsburgh Wednesday.
It stands to reason the Caps would be tough to beat at home, as they have the second change and it becomes difficult for opponents to match up their best defensemen or defensive forwards against superstar Alexander Ovechkin. That will be the tough task tonight for Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who will try to get Zdeno Chara on the ice as often as possible against Alexander the Great.
This game will be one of two marquee match-ups on the NHL docket, with the top two teams in the Western Conference — Detroit and San Jose — also meeting tonight at 10:30 p.m.
Season series: In the only previous meeting between these clubs, the Caps prevailed 3-1. Nicklas Backstrom and Ovechkin recorded one goal and one assist each. The Bruins actually outshot the Caps, 34-26. The teams will meet twice more after this, both in Boston.
What they’re writing: Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post takes a look at the Bruins’ goaltending tandem and how no matter who starts, the Caps will have a tough time solving him. Corey Masiak of the Washington Times says the Caps are now among the NHL’s elite.
Washington Player to Watch: It’s easy to become transfixed on Ovechkin, but like the Bruins the Caps have plenty of secondary scoring. Tomas Fleischman has been hot of late. He has scored goals in three straight games and already has set a career high with 15 goals in just 36 games. His four game-winning goals are second on the team only to Ovechkin. So the Bruins are going to have to keep a close eye on him, as well as a number of other dangerous Caps forwards.