CAPS GAME NIGHT-GAME 46: Caps Host Eastern Leading B's

Posted by Dave Nichols | Saturday, January 17, 2009 | , , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals (28-14-3-59, first in Southeast, second in East) host the Boston Bruins (33-7-4-70, first in Northeast, first in East) from the Verizon Center at 7:00 pm.

Boston is seeking its fifth win in a row and eighth straight road win tonight.

This is the second of four meetings between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. If the Capitals want to close the 11-point gape between the two teams, each of the remaining three games are of vital importance. Washington won the first game 3-1 on Dec. 10. The final two games of the series, Jan. 27 and Feb. 28, are both in Boston.

Boston features a balanced attack and excellent goaltending. The Bruins have six players with double-digit goals, led by RW Phil Kessel with 24. Kessell, however, will miss the game with mononucleosis. The Bruins actually come into this one limping, missing five other regulars in addition to Kessel.

Despite the injuries, the B's are still plenty dangerous, with the league's fifth leading scorer, Marc Savard (15-38-53, plus-30), David Krejci (17-31-48, plus-25) and Michael Ryder (17-15-32, plus-21) all enjoying career seasons.

Tim Thomas is the number one goaltender. and an all-star to boot. He is 19-4-6, 2.00, .937 for the season. Backup Manny Fernandez could start for most teams as well. In 19 games, his record is 14-3-2, 2.07, .928. It's an embarrassment of riches for the Bruins between the pipes.

The Caps have seven player with double-digit goals, led of course by the "Great 8", Alex Ovechkin. He notched two goals and an assist in Washington's 6-3 victory in Pittsburgh Wednesday night. His 57 points (29 goals, 28 assists) are good fro third in the league in scoring.

The other double-digit goal-getters are Alexander Semin (17), Tomas Fleischmann (15), Nicklas Backstrom (12), Mike Green (11), Brooks Laich (11), and Viktor Kozlov (10).

Jose Theodore should start in goal tonight. in 27 games he is 15-8-2 with a 2.94 GAA and .893 save percentage.

Tom Poti (groin), Chris Clark (healthy), Boyd Gordon (healthy) and Shaone Morrisonn (lower body) will be the scratches tonight.

WAS: PP-5th (22.8%, 43/189); PK-23rd (79.7%, 43/212)
BOS: PP-3rd (23.8%, 40/168); PK-8th (83.5%, 27/164)

WAS: D Brian Pothier (Concussion-OUT); D Tom Poti (Groin-IR); RW Boyd Gordon (Back-OUT); Shaone Morrison (Lower body- Day to Day)

BOS: D Andrew Ference (Leg- IR); C Patrice Bergeron (Concussion-IR); RW Phil Kessel (Mononucleosis-IR); LW Milan Lucic (Undisclosed-Questionable); LW Marco Sturm (Knee- IR); D Aaron Ward (Leg-Out)