Game 29 Preview: Caps Host Boston Bruins

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, December 09, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals (15-10-3-33, first in Southeast) host the Northeast-leading Boston Bruins (19-4-4-42) at 7:00 p.m. from Verizon Center.

The Caps have split their last four games, most recently dropping a 3-1 decision to Carolina last Saturday.

The injuries are taking their toll on the Capitals and they should be getting some help soon, but the Caps added Tomas Fleischmann to the list of walking wounded. He did not particiapate in this morning's skate. The team has recalled the very talented Oskar Osala from Hershey. Keith Aucoin and Bryan Helmer were also not at the morning skate, leading to specualtion that they were both sent back to the Bears.

Tyler Sloan, himself an injury call-up, should return for tonight's game. Mike Green said he was "90-percent", perhaps returning for games this weekend against Ottawa and Montreal.

Tom Poti practiced full strength on Tuesday and in the morning skate today but will be a game-time decision. Alexander Semin, Sergei Federov skated but will probably not play. Eric Fehr and John Erskine did not skate and will miss yet another game.

Brent Johnson (7-4-3, 2.59, .913) should get the start tonight.

The Bruins have won their last three games, over Tampa Bay twice and Florida. Phil Kessel leads Boston with 17 goals (third in the NHL) and eight assists for 25 points. Marc Savard is the overall scoring leader with 32 points (8 goals, 24 assists). They have eight skaters with a double digit plus/minus rating and all eight are in the top 25 in the NHL.

Boston is third in the NHL in goal scoring, behind just San Jose and Detroit.

Boston is particularly strong between the pipes, maybe with the best duo in the league. Tim Thomas has started 17 games with a 11-3-6 record, 1.90 GAA and .940 save percentage. Veteran Manny Fernandez (8-1-2, 2.09, .926 in 10 games) is the backup.

Fernandez's weekend shutout in Florida was his seventh win in a row, while starter Thomas ranks second overall in save percentage.

WAS: PP-8th (22.2%, 26/117); PK-25th (78.8%, 26/117)
BOS: PP-5th (23.5%, 23/98); PK-8th (83.8%, 17/105)

WAS: D John Erskine (Concussion-Questionable); C Sergei Fedorov (Ankle-Out); D Tom Poti (Groin-Out); RW Chris Clark (Forearm-Out); D Mike Green (Shoulder-IR); D Jeff Schultz (Finger-IR); LW Alexander Semin (Back-IR); D Brian Pothier (Concussion-Out); TOmas Fleishmann (undisclosed-Questionable)

BOS: D Andrew Ference (Leg-IR); LW Marco Sturm (Head/neck-Questionable); D Aaron Ward (Leg-Questionable); C Stephane Yelle (Ribs-Questionable)