Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
BOSTON – The Boston Bruins could be facing their first-round opponent in the playoffs when they host the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon. Washington already has wrapped up the best record in the league and has nothing for which to play, but Boston still has a chance to finish in the top three in the Atlantic Division and thus avoid a postseason matchup against a major nemesis.The Bruins can clinch third place in the division by winning their regular-season finale against the Capitals, who have won eight consecutive regular-season games versus Boston. The Bruins are sitting one point behind second-place Ottawa and two points ahead of Toronto — with both Canadian rivals holding a game in hand. With leading scorer Brad Marchand sitting out the first of a two-game suspension, Boston suffered a 2-1 shootout loss to Ottawa on Thursday, ending its six-game winning streak. Washington clinched its second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy by blanking the New York Rangers 2-0 on Wednesday for its third win in a row and ninth in the last 10 games.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, NBC
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (54-18-8): While captain Alex Ovechkin is on pace for one of his least productive seasons in terms of goals, his all-around game is drawing praise from his coach and teammates. “He’s stepping it up at the right time,” goaltender Braden Holtby said. “And he’s playing physical and contributing in more ways than one.” It’s not as if Ovechkin has been an offensive slouch — he has 33 goals and 68 points on the season and has recorded six goals and as many assists over his last dozen games.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (44-30-7): Defenseman Torey Krug suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday’s game and was spotted leaving the arena wearing a knee brace and on crutches. Krug, who has been ruled out for Saturday’s game, was not at Friday’s practice and will be listed as day-to-day going forward, according to Boston coach Bruce Cassidy. “We’re not going to be able to replace what he does. (He) is a special talent,” Cassidy said. “We’re going to miss his ability to get us going on offense in a hurry.”
1. With Bruins G Tuukka Rask a dismal 1-9-5 versus Washington, backup Anton Khudobin will get the start Saturday.
2. Capitals D John Carlson (lower body injury) and F Brett Connolly (illness) will not travel to Boston.
3. Bruins F Noel Acciari (upper body) was not at Friday’s practice and is listed as day-to-day.