WASHINGTON, DC– As I make my way down the Eastern seaboard to our nation’s great Capital, the Boston Bruins are preparing for a pivotal game three clash in enemy territory. After Nicklas Backstrom’s double overtime wrist shot lifted the Washington Capitals to a 2-1 victory at the TD Garden on Saturday afternoon, the series makes it’s way to the Verizon Center all evened up at one game a piece.
X-Factor: In games one and two, the Capitals’ newly implemented defensive strategy truly stymied most of the quality scoring chances that the Bruins would normally account for. Much like Tampa Bay’s infamous 1-3-1 system of a a year ago, the Washington defense has kept any and all Boston offense to the outside. In other words, they are taking away the center of the ice and forcing the B’s to make their attack either down the boards or through the ole “dump and chase” formula. If the Bruins hope to prolong their first Stanley Cup defense since 1973, they’ll need to find a way to crack the Caps’ stingy defense.
Series: Tied 1-1
Location: Verizon Center, Washington, DC.
Time: 7:30 P.M. (EST)
Tonight’s Lineup (Subject To Change):
Scratches– ….. Mike Mottau, Jordan Caron
Nathan Horton (Concussion) – Boston’s top right winger was officially ruled out of the 2012 Playoffs by General Manager Peter Chiarelli during a press conference Wednesday morning.
Tuukka Rask (Groin) — The B’s back up goaltender is still day-to-day, but has traveled with his teammates to Washington and could be backing up Tim Thomas on Monday.
Adam McQuaid (Upper Body) — In what’s become one of the more unpredictable injuries of the season, Boston’s dependable blueliner will be forced to sit out again on Monday after not making the voyage south to DC.
Opposing Goaltender: Braden Holtby (2 GP/1.00 GAA)
Prediction: After taking a split in the first two games in Boston, the Capitals will likely be re-energized by the fact that they now hold home-ice advantage in the series. Also, the team’s outstanding record from the confines of the Verizon Center should do nothing but increase the Caps’ confidence as they enter Monday night’s showdown. Look for this series to finally see some goal scoring as Alex Ovechkin finally breaks out of his shell, leading the Caps to a 4-2 victory and a 2-1 series lead.
Bruins 2 , Capitals 4
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.