BOSTON — You might think that when the second- and fifth-best teams in goals scored per game get together the bulb in the goal light would nearly blow out during the match-up, but that has not been the case between the Boston Bruins and Washington Captials this season.
Entering today’s showdown of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference at TD Banknorth Garden, the Bruins are averaging 3.36 goals per game, while the Caps are scoring a 3.29 clip. Yet in three head-to-head games, Washington has only outscored Boston, 7-5. Expect more of the same today.
The Bruins will have to play a bit more conservative because they’re expected to be without two of their big guns offensively, Milan Lucic and Marc Savard, because of injury. The Caps, meanwhile, haven’t done much to solve the Bruins’ top-ranked defense (2.13 goals allowed per game). In fact, the NHL’s top goal-scorer Alexander Ovechkin has only found the back of the net once and registered three points in the three games.
Boston will need to be careful early in this contest. The Caps lead the league in first-period goals (68) and they’ve scored in the game’s first 20 minutes in 14 straight games. The Caps’ first-period power play is rocking out to a 12-for-23 beat over the last 13 games.
We might know who’s going to win this one early today.
Season series: The Caps have won two out of three games, both on home ice this season, from the Bruins and also picked up five points (Boston’s win came in a shootout). The Bruins have not lost a regulation game to Washington at home since Dec. 2, 2000.
What they’re writing: Corey Masisak of the Washington Times reports that Caps general manager George McPhee doesn’t have any trades working right now, just four days away from the trade deadline. Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post has the Caps gearing up to try to catch the Bruins for the top seed.
Washington player to watch: All eyes leading up to the trade deadline for Washington are on goaltender Jose Theodore, who despite solid regular-season performances hasn’t enjoyed postseason success since earlier this decade. So do the Caps think they can make a lengthy run with Theodore? We won’t know until after Wednesday afternoon, but we can get a hint by watching how he performs in a big game like today. Theodore has answered the bell against Boston already this season — posting a 1-0-1 record with a 1.98 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. He’s only 3-2-1 in his last six starts, so the Caps will be hoping he’ll find some level of consistency for the rest of the season starting this afternoon.