Pregame #79: Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins

Washington Capitals (51-15-12) vs. Boston Bruins (36-30-12)
Verizon Center

Time: 7:00 pm
TV: Comcast SportsNet, Versus
Radio: 820AM, 1500AM, 106.7 FM and XM
Previous Meetings:
Feb 2, 2010     WSH@BOS     WSH, 4 – 1
Oct 1, 2009     WSH@BOS     WSH, 4 – 1
Remaining Meetings:
Apr 11, 2010    WSHvBOS        12:00 PM

The Washington Capitals begin their final week of the regular season tonight, taking on the visiting Boston Bruins at the Verizon Center. While the Caps were able to lock up home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs earning the Presidents’ Trophy with San Jose’s loss last night, the Bruins are still fighting for their playoff lives and currently sit in 7th place of the Eastern Conference. After dropping three straight to playoff-hungry teams to close out March, DC has built a little momentum following wins against Atlanta and at Columbus. The B’s have won 2 of their last three contests, but have managed to only net 3 goals in doing so.
Tonight’s marquee match-up will be between dueling goaltenders.  The Caps’ Jose Theodore is 18-0-3 in his last 21 decisions, and has locked up the starting role heading into the playoffs. During this 21-game stretch, Shut-the-door has accumulated a 2.65 GAA and a .921 save pct. A win tonight will put Theo one shy of 30.
The Capitals’ prolific offense will look to penetrate the defenses of rookie Tuukka Rask tonight, whom they’ve yet to face this season. Since the Olympic break Rask has accumulated two shutouts, and a 1.71 GAA and a .936 save pct. and leads the league in both for the season (1.96 and .931, respectively).
While the B’s strong defense has kept them in the playoff race, the B’s offense has been their undoing and they have not won more than two games in a row since the Olympic break. In fact, Washington’s leader in points, goals, and assists (Ovechkin 102, Ovechkin 46, Backstrom 62) more than doubles Boston’s leaders (Bergeron 50, Sturm 21, Chara 34). Additionally, where DC’s offense leads the league in goals/game (3.80), the B’s stumble in at last in the league in the same category (2.36) – a 1.44 difference.
Know Your Enemy: Something’s Bruin