Pregame Notes: Bruins vs. Capitals – 02/01/21

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Zach Carlone | Check me out on Twitter @zcarlone21

The Boston Bruins will look to bounce back against the Washington Capitals tonight in the second consecutive game against the division rival. The Bruins came out with a point last Saturday in a 4-3 defeat in overtime to the hands of Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin. Tonight, they’ll look to secure the full two points. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm EST.

Injury Woes

Although David Pastrnak made his long-awaited return to the ice on Saturday night, the Bruins are still battling with a few players missing. Charlie Coyle didn’t practice on Sunday due to an upper-body injury but is expected to suit up for tonight’s game.

Among those still out for tonight’s game are forwards Ondrej Kase (upper-body), Jake DeBrusk (lower-body), Jack Studnicka (undisclosed), and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (lower-body). There has been a lot of line shuffling on both offense and defense from head coach Bruce Cassidy in their previous games, but with the first line back in order and Coyle expected to play tonight, we should see a similar lineup roll out at 7 pm EST as we did on Saturday night. With David Krejci’s familiar wingers Kase and DeBrusk out yet again, the Bruins will need to rely on the likes of Nick Ritchie, Craig Smith, and others to help.

Rask Looks to Bounce Back

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask surrendered 4 goals on 23 shots in Saturday’s game against the Capitals, with the 23rd and final shot being a laser from Alex Ovechkin in overtime to give the Capitals the victory. Expected to make the start again tonight, Rask let in some goals last game that he wishes he could have back, including one on a shot from Capitals’ defender Trevor Van Riemsdyk.

If the Bruins have any shot of beating the offensively-gifted Capitals team, headlined by one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history, Rask will need to be in shut-down mode from the moment the puck drops. The young Bruins defense will need to do their best to support the team’s No. 1 goalie.

Execution at Even-Strength

Even though the Bruins outplayed the Capitals for the majority of Saturday’s contest, the score didn’t reflect that. The Bruins headed into the third period down 3-1, and with a late goal from Charlie McAvoy, were able to mount a comeback and head to overtime. The shots were 43-23 in the Bruins favor when all was said and done, and the Bruins finished 1/4 on the power play.

The Bruins are currently 5th in the league in power-play percentage with 34.6%. While most of their offense will come from their top power-play unit and the ‘Perfection Line’ of Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak, the Bruins will need to capitalize on their chances playing five on five against the Caps, with chances needed from every line. The Bruins will come away successful if they limit the Capitals’ chances and execute on their own, including patiently waiting for Pastrnak’s first goal of the season after he made his season debut last Saturday night.

Bruins Projected Lineup

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Ritchie – Krejci – Smith

Frederic – Coyle – Wagner

Bjork – Kuraly – Kuhlman

Lauzon – McAvoy

Clifton – Carlo

Zboril – Miller

Halak

Rask

The Bruins practiced Sunday without Coyle and with Par Lindholm in his place. However, head coach Bruce Cassidy is expecting Coyle to play tonight. Depending on the game-flow, keep an eye on the second line right wing. With DeBrusk and Kase out, Cassidy has been sifting multiple wingers throughout that spot in previous games.

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