After seeing their 13-game point streak snapped on Friday, the Capitals (14-3-4) will look to rebound in a quick turnaround on Saturday against the Boston Bruins (12-3-4). You can catch all the action on NBC Sports Washington with Caps FaceOff Live kicking things off at 6 p.m. before Caps Pregame Live begins at 6:30 p.m. to bring you up to the 7 p.m. puck drop. Stick with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Postgame Live and Caps Overtime Live.
Here are six things to know for Saturday’s game.
About last night
The Caps lost 5-2 to the Montreal Canadiens on Friday, their first regulation loss since Oct. 14. It was not a great performance for Washington, especially in the second period as the Canadiens scored four goals in the middle frame to take control. Ilya Samsonov got the start and made 36 saves on 40 shots.
There won’t be any added advantage for the Bruins as they also played on Friday, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 in Toronto. Brad Marchand led Boston with two goals in the win.
Holtby vs. Halak
Samsonov got the start for Washington on Friday so it will be Braden Holtby in the net on Saturday. The Caps will catch a break though as Tuukka Rask started Friday for Boston. That should mean Washington will face Jaroslav Halak, a goalie in whom the Caps have some...painful history with.
Halak has a 2.68 GAA and .918 save percentage in seven games played this season.
The Caps’ roster is still yet to be determined
With both Nic Dowd and Carl Hagelin day-to-day with upper-body injuries, the Caps recalled Tyler Lewington, a defenseman, for Friday’s game. That is not ideal as it gave Washington seven defensemen and only 11 healthy forwards. That could change on Saturday.
The Hershey Bears recalled goalie Parker Milner from the ECHL on Friday while Travis Boyd and Vitek Vanecek were held out of the lineup for the Bears’ game that night. That is telling and would suggest those players will likely be joining the team in Boston. Do not be surprised if you see Samsonov and Lewington reassigned to Hershey and Boyd and Vanecek recalled prior to Saturday’s game.
Vanecek has a lower cap hit than Samsonov. If all the Caps need is a goalie to back up Holtby, Vanecek can do that while freeing up enough cap space to get Boyd back in and fill out the lineup.
These are moves that will be unnecessary if either Hagelin or Dowd is able to return for Saturday’s game, but it is a possible option in case they aren’t.
The best line in hockey?
Boston features arguably the best forward trio in hockey with Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.
Pastrnak currently leads the league in goals with 16, two more than Ovechkin’s 14. He also has 16 assists. Marchand has 19 goals and 13 assists and Bergeron has eight goals and 11 assists. Marchand and Pastrnak rank third and fourth in the NHL respectively in points with 32 and 31. Tied with Pastrnak is John Carlson who has eight goals and 23 assists.
1st vs. 2nd
Saturday’s game will be between the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. Washington’s 32 points are the most in the NHL. Behind them in the East is Boston who sits in second with 28 points.
There are two things you should note about the Bruins’ record. First, Boston has been cold of late. The Bruins jumped out to an 11-1-2 record on the season before losing four straight. Friday’s win snapped that streak.
Second, the Bruins have not lost in regulation in Boston yet this season through 10 games. The Bruins boast a record of 7-0-3 at home. The Caps, however, have been very strong away from Washington and have a road record of 9-1-1.
Caps own the Bruins
Washington and Boston last played on Feb. 3, 2019, a game in which the Caps lost 1-0. That snapped a 14-game win streak for Washington over Boston that stretched back to April 2013. The Caps will look to start a new streak on Saturday, but did last year’s loss signal the end of Washington’s dominance over the Bruins?
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