Back Check with the Bruins Buff

Monday, January 26, 2009

Game 48 - Washing Capitals @ Boston Bruins Preview

Game #48 Preview
(1) Boston Bruins: 34-8-5
(2) Washington Capitals: 30-15-3

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 @ 7 pm
Home Arena: TD Banknorth Garden
Season Series: Caps Lead 2-0
TV Broadcasts: Versus (HD), TSN

Boston Injuries

(C) Patrice Bergeron: Day-to-Day
(D) Andrew Ference: Day-to-Day
(G) Manny Fernandez: Day-to-Day
(RW) Phil Kessel: 2-3 Weeks
(LW) Marco Sturm: Out For Season

Washington Injuries

(D) Shaone Morrisonn: Day-to-Day
(D) Tom Poti: Day-to-Day
(G) Brent Johnson: Day-to-Day
(D) Brian Pothier: Out indefinitely

Who's Hot For the Bruins?

(C) Marc Savard: 16 points in his last 13 games
(D) Zdeno Chara: 2 goals and 1 assist in his last 2 games, +22 overall

Who's Hot For the Caps?

(LW) Alexander Ovechkin: 4 goals in the last 4 games
(LW/RW) Alexander Semin: 2 goals, 2 assist in the last 4 games

The Buff's Three Keys to the Game

1.) Dominate Physical Play

Washington is one of the only teams in the NHL that can match Boston's physicality. The return of Milan Lucic to the line-up should help the B's set the tone. Also look for big hits from Zdeno Chara, Byron Bitz, and Mark Stuart.

2.) Stellar Goaltending

With Manny Fernandez out with a sore back, look for Tim Thomas to make his seventh consecutive start. The Flint Flopper boasts an 8-2 career record over the Capitals and leads the NHL in save percentage.

But he'll have to stand on his head to keep up with the Caps' firepower. Alexander Ovechkin continues to bolster Washington's powerhouse offense with 31 goals this season, the top number in the league.

That is, unless rookie Tuukka Rask starts. Rask was called up from the Providence Bruins today on an emergency basis. The prospect holds a 19-15-0 record with the Baby B's with a 2.46 goals against average.

3.) Work the Power Play

Washington's penalty kill ranks at the bottom half of the league -- 24th with 48 goals against. The team gave up three power play goals in its last game, a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators.

The Bruins are coming off a strong power play performance against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, scoring two goals on the man advantage. They're currently ranked #3 on the power play.

Fact of the Game

Capitals defenseman Milan Jurcina began his NHL career with the Bruins in 2005. He played 91 games with the B's, posting 8 goals, 6 assists, and a -2 rating.

Jurcina had difficulty adjusting to a Bruins coaching change in 2006. He found himself in Coach Dave Lewis' doghouse almost immediately, being benched and scratched almost on a weekly basis.

The B's traded Jurcina to the Caps in 2007 for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2008 entry draft. Since then he has enjoyed some degree of success with the Caps, becoming a regular member of their blueline.

Jurcina hasn't been a factor against his old club. In his eight games against the Bruins, he has 0 points and a +5 rating.

And what came of the conditional fourth-round pick? The Calgary Flames plucked it from the B's later that year in a trade that swapped Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew for Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau.

Calgary received the pick on the condition that Brad Stuart did not resign with the club in the off-season. Stuart chose not to.


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