Pregame Notes: Capitals vs. Bruins – 1/10/22

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Andrew Taverna | Follow me on Twitter: @andrewtaverna

After the Bruins’ definitive 5-2 win in Tampa Bay this past Saturday, the Bruins are in Washington for a matchup against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. The Capitals are 20-7-9 this season and are currently 3rd in the Metropolitan Division. That said, the Washington Capitals are never a game the Bruins should take lightly, as they’ve had their fair share of trouble against this organization. The teams will face off tonight at 7:00 PM on NESN at the Capital One Arena.

Return From The Break

The Bruins are off to what would seemingly be a hot start coming out of the holiday break and COVID shutdown. The Bruins have looked like an entirely different team with a 4-1 record and their only loss coming to the Minnesota Wild in a very winnable game. The defense has been playing a tighter and more controlled game, and the offense has finally found some secondary scoring with the splitting of the top line. Both of these are positive signs for the Bruins, who have struggled in both of those categories this season.

Goaltending

The Bruins will be going with Linus Ullmark in the net tonight. In 15 starts, Ullmark has a 10-5 record and appears to be continuing his improvement as the season ages. You could go as far as saying that the closer Tuukka Rask has been to returning, the better Ullmark has looked in nets. Speaking of Rask, Cassidy confirmed there is still no further update on when Rask might return after his games in Providence were postponed over the weekend.

In the Washington crease, the Bruins will be facing Zach Fucale. This start will be Fucale’s first home start, but he has been absolutely lights out in the Washington crease in the three games he has played. It will be interesting to see how Fucale does against a Bruins lineup that has recently found its scoring touch.

Injuries & Covid

During Bruce Cassidy’s media availability today, he told reporters that Nick Foligno would be getting an MRI in Boston and not in the lineup tonight. This update should surprise no one as Foligno left the ice during the Tampa game in what the team is calling a “lower-body injury.” In addition to Foligno being out, Jake DeBrusk has also been ruled out for tonight’s game. New names that might surprise Bruins fans on the list are Forbort and Clifton. Both of those gentlemen are currently having issues with testing, and the Bruins are waiting on clarity. The one piece of good news for Bruins fans is that it would appear after missing two games that Charlie McAvoy will insert back into the lineup tonight. That is a much-needed reprieve for what may be a depleted Bruins D core.

For the Capitals, things are a bit brighter at the moment. The team has announced that Dmitry Orlov will miss tonight’s game due to a stint on the COVID protocol list, but the team will be getting back Nicklas Backstrom and TJ Oshie. Oshie will likely be slotted back into that top line with Ovechkin, which should be enough to terrify Bruins fans.

Bruins Projected Lineup

Marchand-Bergeron-Smith

Hall-Haula-Pastrnak

Frederic-Coyle-Steen

Lazar-Nosek-Kuhlman

Grzelcyk-McAvoy

Reilly-Carlo

Vaakanainen-Moore

Ullmark

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