CAPS GAME NIGHT--Game 49: What? There's a Caps Game Tonight?

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, January 27, 2009 | , , | 0 comments »

After what seemed like an interminable break for the all-star festivities, the Washington Capitals (30-15-3-63, first in Southeast) are in Boston to face the Bruins (34-8-5-73, first in Northeast), the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.

Washington owns a couple of home victories over the B's this season already, a 3-1 win on Dec. 10 and a 2-1 victory Jan. 17. The Caps, though, are 11-12-2 on the road this season and most recently suffered a 3-2 loss just before the break to Ottawa, a team struggling to get back into the playoff picture.

The Bruins come into this game healthier than they were for either of the previous two contests, but are still missing a couple of important pieces.

Forwards Phil Kessel (mono), Michael Ryder (flu) and Marco Sturm (knee) are all out, as is backup goalie Manny Fernandez (back).

The Bruins are strong on both sides of the ice. They lead the East with 3.51 goals per game and 2.15 goals against average.

All-star goalie Tim Thomas has been phenomenal this season. He is 20-5-8 with a 2.09 goals against and .934 save percentage. He will be backed up tonight by Tuuka Rask, who appeared in four games last season (2-1-0, 3.26).

Up front, Boston is led by all-star center Marc Savard (16-40-56, plus-28) and David Kejci (17-35-52, plus-25). They have seven players with double-digit goals, including all-star defenseman Zdeno Chara (11-18-29, plus-22).

The Capitals are on pace for 108 points, which would be a franchise record. All-star Alex Ovechkin (31-28-59, plus-13) leads a dynamic and explosive offensive squad, with seven double-digit goal scorers of their own. However, the team was having trouble scoring at even strength coming into the break, having gone three-plus games without a five-on-five goal.

The team has also struggled recently on the penalty kill, allowing a power play goal in each of the last eight games, which was a point of emphasis for coach Bruce Boudreau at practice this week.

Jose Theodore (17-9-2, 2.81, .898) will start in goal and is backed up by Brent Johnson (11-6-3, 2.75, .909)

David Steckel and Eric Fehr are healthy scratches for tonight's game.

The game is at 7:00 pm from TD Banknorth Garden.

WAS: PP-5th (22.7%, 46/203); PK-24th (78.9%, 48/228)
BOS: PP-3rd (25.0%, 45/180); PK-8th (82.9%, 30/175)

WAS: D Shaone Morrisonn (Lower body-Out); D Brian Pothier (Concussion-IR); D Tom Poti (Groin-IR)

BOS: G Manny Fernandez (Back-Out); RW Phil Kessel (Mononucleosis-IR); RW Michael Ryder (Flu-Questionable); LW Marco Sturm (Knee-IR)