Tuesday, January 27, 2009
CAPITALS AT BRUINS PREVIEW
Washington is one of the few teams that has had the Bruins' number this year. A pair of close games between the two, both played in Washington, and both won by the Caps.
Just to let you know, this game is on Versus, so some of you out there might miss it. I suggest tuning into NESN postgame for the highlights, because this is an important game.
When I say it's an important game, I don't mean that the result (win/lose/OT lose) is that vital, just that how the Bruins play is important. Can the Bruins figure out a way to beat this team? Even though the scores of the previous two games were close (3-1 with an empty-netter in December, 2-1 10 days ago), Washington had the better of the play, particularly in the neutral zone.
The Bruins need to get on the power play in this game. Washington's penalty kill rate is an unimpressive 78.9%, and the Bruins have scored in 25% of their power plays. How do you get on the power play? Working the puck in the offensive zone, forcing the Caps to make mistakes like hook, hold, obstruct, interfere, and so on.
Patrice Bergeron will be back in the lineup, but it's unclear how much ice time he'll get. I'd imagine he won't get much, and probably won't play on special teams.
Tim Thomas will be in net. Manny Fernandez has "general soreness," and his spot on the bench will be filled by Tuuka Rask, recently called up from Providence. Thomas looked sharp the last time he faced Washington, but the Bruins couldn't generate any offense for him.
The Bruins average 3.51 goals per game, but have scored 1 per game against Washington. The B's need to be more aggressive and take more risks when bringing the puck up ice. Try to punish the Capitals for overloading the space between the blue lines.
Prediction: Bruins 3, Capitals 2 - Bruins win it in OT