Washington Caps at Boston Bruins
When: 7:00 PM ET, Monday, December 23, 2019
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
BOSTON – The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins owned the two best records in hockey when they squared off less than two weeks ago, but the teams are trending in opposite directions as they prepare to meet for the third time this season. The Capitals will look to extend their domination over the Bruins when they pay a visit to TD Garden on tonight.
Washington has posted a pair of one-goal wins over Boston in the past five weeks, including a 3-2 decision on Dec. 11 that marks its 16th victory in 17 meetings since the start of the 2014 season. The Capitals skated to a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay on Saturday to improve to 10-2-0 in their last 12 and an NHL-best 26-6-5 on the season.
The Bruins have dropped three in a row overall — all at home and all beyond regulation — as part of a slide in which they have lost eight of nine (1-4-4). “It’s frustrating losing. We want to win. We were in the games, it’s just one goal,” forward David Pastrnak said after Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Nashville, giving Boston it’s first five-game skid at home since the 2009-10 season. “Sometimes you win games you weren’t (supposed) to win. That happened to us a little in November.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet, NBCS Washington, NESN (Boston)
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (26-6-5): Special teams provided the difference in Saturday’s win over the Lightning, snuffing out all seven power-play chances and closing the game out on a short-handed tally by Nic Dowd. The Capitals received a scare when T.J. Oshie, who has a history of concussions, took an accidental blow to the head but he was able to return to the game. “He’s so integral to our team’s success in so many different ways, plays in all situations,” coach Todd Reirden said. “And the leadership that he provides is off the charts.”
ABOUT THE BRUINS (21-7-9): Netminders Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak were superb over the first two months of the season, but the duo has tailed off dramatically during the team’s December slide. In 11 games this month, Rask and Halak have combined for a 2.91 goals-against average and .893 save percentage. “A little bit of that is our goaltenders have to push through right now. We’re not scoring that much, or we’ve got to start scoring more,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “It’s one or the other if you want to get in the win column.”
- Washington is 16-3-1 on the road while the Bruins have just one regulation home loss (12-1-8) but are 2-9 overall in overtime or a shootout.
- The teams’ leading scorers, Pastrnak and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, were named All-Star captains of the Atlantic and Metropolitan squads, respectively
- Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will miss Monday’s game to have a procedure on the jaw he broke in the Stanley Cup Finals.
PREDICTION: Bruins 3, Capitals 2