Sun, 11 Apr 2021

East-leading Capitals look to sweep set with Bruins

Field Level Media
05 Mar 2021, 06:05 GMT+10

The Washington Capitals have ascended to the top of the East Division on the strength of a season-high four-game winning streak.

The Capitals look to continue their good fortune on Friday when they conclude their two-game set against the host Boston Bruins.

Washington improved to 9-1-0 in Boston dating back to the 2014-15 season and 5-0-1 during its current six-game point streak after posting a 2-1 shootout victory on Wednesday. The contest marked the return to Boston for veteran defenseman Zdeno Chara, who served as the Bruins captain for 14 seasons before he signed with the Capitals during the offseason.

Chara likely is proud of his team's defense, as it has yielded just seven goals during its winning streak and limited high-octane Boston to 19 shots on net on Wednesday.

"For me, it's not just (Wednesday)," Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think that we've been doing the right things defensively, and I think the guys just are feeling a little bit more comfortable with what we're doing."

What makes the Capitals' performance on Wednesday all the more impressive is they surrendered eight goals on 76 shots in a two-game set against the Bruins on Jan. 30 and Feb. 1.

"We had good sticks; we were blocking shots; we were doing the little things that are going to make us successful in playoff hockey," defenseman Brenden Dillon said. "It's a good, for sure, confidence booster for us to see the improvement (against) those first few games we played against (them) too."

Boston's confidence may have taken a hit after falling for the fifth time in seven games (2-4-1).

"They compete hard; they've got a lot of guys that are physical; they're a big team," Brad Marchand said. "And we have to play that same way to compete with all those teams and to be the best in our division. ... It was a playoff-type game, got a little more physical as the game went on. But that's what we've got to expect every night."

David Pastrnak converted a 2-on-1 rush with Marchand to open the scoring 1:19 into the third period. Pastrnak's 10th goal of the season pulled him into a tie for the team lead with Marchand, who holds club-high totals in assists (14) and points (24).

Pastrnak (three goals, one assist) and Marchand (two goals, two assists) each have four points in three meetings with Washington this season. Boston, however, has just a 1-0-2 record to show for it.

Tuukka Rask was denied in his bid for his 300th career win despite turning aside 27 of 28 shots on Wednesday. He is 0-0-2 against the Capitals this season and 3-11-7 in 22 career appearances (20 starts) versus the club.

Washington's Lars Eller forged a tie on Wednesday by scoring 6:14 into the third period. He has three goals and two assists during his four-game point streak.

Vitek Vanecek made 18 saves on Wednesday to notch his 10th win, the most among rookie goaltenders in the NHL. He is 2-1-0 with a 2.61 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in three meetings with Boston.

--Field Level Media

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