Capitals hope to ‘hang’ with Bruins

March 5, 2013

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post) Joel Ward celebrates his game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Capitals’ 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Bruins.

Who can forget the thunderous collision between Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Seidenberg in Game 1 last spring? Or Braden Holtby’s steely stare down of Rich Peverley? Or Joel Ward crashing  the net for the Game 7, series winning tally?

The Capitals’ Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup against the Boston Bruins last year was a seven-game nail-biter. For the first time in NHL history, every contest in the series was decided by just one goal.

But that series, as memorable as it was, is nearly 11 months behind both teams. The Capitals have a new coach, new players and are playing a different system than they did when facing Boston in the first round.

Coming off a 3-0 victory against Winnipeg and having won six of its last nine, Washington is eager for another test of their progress and looking to build some confidence.

“We played Pittsburgh, didn’t do well. Played New York, didn’t win. Philly the other day. We haven’t really passed the test,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “It’s good because Boston’s a team that we have had some success against in the past. But things are different this year and we just hope that we are on an upswing and we can hang with them. It’d be not good for the confidence if you get blown out by them. We feel good right now, so that’s positive.”

The Bruins have won six of their past seven games and at 14-3-2 (30 points) they have fewer regulation losses than any team in the Eastern Conference and sit in fourth place. They’re currently second in the ultra-competitive Northeast Division, behind East-leading Montreal (32 points).

“They’re playing really well right now, and that’s our main focus,” Holtby said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with the past right now. It’s one game and we need to win it.”

Based on the standings as of Monday evening, the Capitals are 3-8-1 against teams in playoff position. That’s a statistic they undoubtedly want to improve upon, not only for sake of gaining valuable points but also for their overall morale and so they’re looking forward to facing the big, bad Bruins.

“We need to start winning some games against some teams that are in the playoffs, and we’ve got to try and catch them,” Troy Brouwer said. “We’ve been playing good hockey. There’s no better time to play these guys.”

And for good measure, here’s video of that Ovechkin-Seidenberg hit.

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