Capitals Game Day
Capitals vs. Bruins: Lines, Tale of the Tape, Players To Watch
The Washington Capitals come out of the break ready for a tough showdown against the Boston Bruins. Here are the lines, key stats, players to watch and the full tale of the tape.
After a lengthy All-Star Break, the Washington Capitals will return to play with a big challenge to open the stretch: an afternoon showdown on the road against the top-ranked Boston Bruins in the first game of a back-to-back.
Here's everything to know ahead of puck drop.
Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins: Lines
Following the time away, head coach Peter Laviolette switched up the Capitals' lines as they continue to navigate injuries. Both Tom Wilson and Nic Dowd remain out with lower-body injuries, and Aliaksei Protas is with the team as the extra forward.
Here are what the lines have looked like and what the combinations will be against the Bruins:
Alex Ovechkin-Dylan Strome-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Sonny Milano-Nicklas Backstrom-Marcus Johansson
Conor Sheary-Evgeny Kuznetsov-T.J. Oshie
Anthony Mantha-Lars Eller-Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin-Martin Fehervary
Darcy Kuemper will start the first game of the back-to-back in Boston, while Charlie Lindgren will likely get Sunday's home matinee with the San Jose Sharks.
Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins: Tale of the Tape
Washington (27-20-6) is in a tough situation coming out of the break, as the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders have made up for lost time with some key victories to open the unofficial second half of the season. Pittsburgh leapfrogged the Capitals for the first Wild Card spot, and the Islanders are just one point behind Washington for the second Wild Card spot and could take that spot — at least for the moment — with a win over the Montreal Canadiens. So in a way, this is a must-win for the Capitals.
Key stats for Washington: 20.5 PP% (19th), 81.4 PK% (8th), 3.11 GF/G (17th), 2.83 GA/G (11th)
It won't come easy against Boston (39-7-5), who had a bit of a rough stretch before the break but ended things on a high note with a key win. Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman have been brick walls in goal, special teams are clicking and the Bruins rank high in almost every category. The team will be without Jake DeBrusk, though.
Key stats: for Boston: 25.1 PP% (5th), 85.8 PK& (1st), 3.75 GF/G (1st), 2.12 GA/G (1st)
These two teams last met for the season opener, where the Capitals fell to the Bruins 5-2.
Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins: Players to Watch
For Washington, Alex Ovechkin had a goal and two assists in the All-Star Game and is looking to continue his chase of Wayne Gretzky following key time to rest. Meanwhile, Marcus Johansson enters Saturday's game on a three-game point streak, and Sonny Milano and Dylan Strome are eager to showcase their ability after signing extensions over the break. Evgeny Kuznetsov has three points in his last three games, and Nicklas Backstrom has points in two of his last three outings and three of his last five overall.
On the Boston side, David Pastrnak leads the pack with 72 points in 51 games, and he is two goals away from 40 this season. Pastrnak has points in five of his last six games with a total of nine points in that span. David Krejci has been making a major impact in his return to the NHL this season and has points in four of his last five and seven of his last nine overall, as does newcomer Pavel Zacha. And of course, watch for the usual suspects in Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy.
How To Tune In
This is a nationally broadcast game that will be televised live on ABC and available on ESPN+. Local Capitals fans can listen on the radio at 106.7 The Fan or Caps Radio 24/7, and Bruins fans can turn the dial to 98.5 Sports Hub.
Puck drop is at 3:30 p.m. ET at TD Garden.