After a noteworthy victory over the Lightning, the Bruins (18-11-2) will travel to Washington (20-7-9) as they look to try to close the gap between themselves and the third-place Leafs in the Atlantic Division. The Capitals have lost three in a row but could jump to the top of the Metropolitan Division, at least temporarily, with a win tonight.
Opening Odds Analysis
While the Capitals have lost three straight, they opened as the favorites in this contest. That’s not completely surprising – when there’s very little to separate two teams, the home squad is often given the slight edge.
Boston News & Notes
The Bruins have won four of their last five games as they look to make up ground on the Panthers, Lightning and Maple Leafs, the three teams ahead of them in the Atlantic Division.
They knocked off the Lightning 5-2 in their most recent game Saturday in Tampa despite the absence of top defenceman Charlie McAvoy, who remains day to day with a lower-body injury. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak both scored a pair of goals in the victory to lead the Bruins.
The five-goal outburst against the Bolts continued a positive trend for the Bruins of late. While Boston has surrendered the third-fewest goals in the NHL, the team ranks only 17th in goals scored but has now netted five goals in three of its last four games.
Washington News & Notes
Losers of three in a row and looking over their shoulders at the red-hot Penguins, the Capitals are still just a point behind the Hurricanes and Rangers, who are tied atop the Metropolitan. They could leapfrog both teams with a win over Boston, though the Rangers play later tonight in Los Angeles.
The Capitals have lost three of their last four games at Capital One Arena and are going up against a Bruins team that is 9-5-1 on the road this season.
After Zach Fucale got the start last time out, No. 1 goaltender Ilya Samsonov will likely get the call between the pipes for Washington in this one. The Caps will likely be without T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom and Anthony Mantha, whose absences place the offensive burden on Evgeni Kuznetsov and Alexander Ovechkin.
How Boston Will Win
Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman share an almost even split in starts this season. Patrice Bergeron will be asked to help contain Washington’s top line, a tougher assignment without McAvoy, who leads the team with a plus/minus of +7. If Marchand and Pastrnak can stay hot on two separate lines, then the Bruins have a great shot.
How Washington Will Win
Washington has a bottom-five power-play percentage and the lowest faceoff percentage in the league. The reliable Samsonov will be back in goal to shut down a hot Boston offense. The Capitals need scoring outside of their top line to take the Bruins down.
Computer Pick: Bruins ML (+100)
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