The Washington Capitals woke up Friday in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

The race for a playoff spot is such that they’ll arrive at the TD Garden for a matchup with the Bruins Saturday as a desperate team. As it turns out, they’ll also be a shorthanded club.

Caps defenseman Mike Green was suspended today for three games for his hit Thursday night on Tampa Bay’s Brett Connolly. The ban will start Saturday. Here’s the explanation from NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan:

In 20 games during this injury-riddled season, Green, a former Norris Trophy finalist, has posted 3-3-6 totals in 20 games. His absence probably means more minutes for former Boston blueliner Dennis Wideman (enjoy that Bruins fans) and the return to the lineup of either Roman Hamrlik or John Erskine. Those two veterans haven’t been getting along with head coach Dale Hunter lately, according to

The Bruins, on the other hand, should be somewhat whole. Brad Marchand was among the more than a half dozen players to skip today’s optional practice. Head coach Claude Julien, though, said the winger isn’t feeling any effects from the third-period hit Tyler Myers threw at the speedster Thursday except for a stinger.

Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek didn’t emerge from the Bruins’ win over the Sabres as lucky as Marchand. Today Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff revealed that Vanek, leveled and knocked out of the game by a Johnny Boychuk green-light hit at the Buffalo blue line, is still sore and is questionable for the Sabres’ next game Saturday.