Pregame #6: Washington Capitals vs Boston Bruins (10/19/10)

Washington Capitals (4-1-0) vs Boston Bruins (2-1-0)
Verizon Center
Time: 7:00 pm
TV: Versus, TSN2
Radio: 820AM, 1500AM and XM
Previous Games:
Sep 28, 2010 BOS@WSH 3-2 W (Preseason)
Sep 29, 2010 WAS@BOS 4-1 W (Preseason)
Games Remaining:
Oct 21, 2010 WSH@BOS  7:00 PM ET
Nov  5, 2010 BOS@WSH  7:00 PM ET
Dec 18, 2010 WSH@BOS  7:00 PM ET
Game Promotion: (none)
Familiar Faces of Former Capitals:
Trent Whitfield (1999-02, 02-04)
The Enemy:
Days of Y’Orr
Something’s Bruin
Stanley Cup of Chowder

[Update: It’s in the  books. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly can be found here]

The Washington Capitals look to keep their four-game win streak alive on home ice against the Boston Bruins, a team they dismantled twice during the preseason. The matchup is the first of two this week against the Bruins, as the Capitals head to Massachusetts on Thursday. After dropping their first contest of the season in Prague, Czech Republic, the B’s have been able to take two straight – and allow only 1 goal while doing it. Winning tonight won’t be a cakewalk (historically) for the boys from bean town: since the 2007-08 season, the Caps have taken 85 of 126 (67.5%) games on Verizon Center ice, including taking at least one point in 97 contests (77.0%). Additionally, you’d have to look all the way to January 23rd, 2006 to find the last regulation win for Boston in the Nation’s capital.

Three Things to Watch For:
Get yer Goals: Although the Bruins are one of 3 teams to have suited up only three times this season, they are tied for third in the NHL in goals against/game (2.00) and tied for second in total goals against (6). After netting 5 of 8 goals in the 3rd period or later last week the Capitals will need to rattle the Bruins early, as they’ve only allowed 1 3rd period goal all season – an empty netter to Radim Vrbata in a 5-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. Washington will most likely face former Vezina winner Tim Thomas, who’s compiled a .984 Sv% and .50 GAA in 2 games.  

Across the Pond: In typical Bruce Boudreau fashion, it will possibly be late into the morning until we decipher who will be manning the crease for the Capitals against the B’s. Michal Neuvirth has been exceptionally good for the Caps tangibly, 2.16 GAA, .930 Sv % thus far, and intangibly (doing his part to keep the Capitals in games as the opposition pressed. At home this season Neuvi has taken 3 wins, with a 1.63 GAA and .943 Sv %. While he has never faced Boston in his career, Semyon Varlamov has- an overtime loss in which he allowed 3 goals.

Kill ’em All: Boston currently ranks 24th in the NHL with a power play that has converted only 1 of their 11 attempts with the extra man (9.1%). The come to town to face the Caps’ perfect penalty killing unit, which is 21-for-21 this season. Their current streak is the longest since since February of 2008. The Caps PK has benefited from good clears and fresh legs (with even Alex Ovechkin chipping in). Without a major offensive threat (only 1 Bruin finishing with better than 20 goals last season), look for the streak to continue.