Open thread: Capitals vs. Bruins

March 29

Braden Holtby will start against the Bruins for the third time this season. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

With a chance to move back into a playoff spot on the line Saturday afternoon, the Capitals will turn to Braden Holtby in net against the Bruins.

Holtby (20-14-3, 2.96 goals against average, .912 save percentage) started both of the previous meetings between the teams this season and has a strong track record against the Bruins. In five regular season appearances against Boston, Holtby is 4-1 with a .940 save percentage and 2.13 goals against. He was also stellar against the Bruins in a seven-game first-round series in 2012.

“Holts played two good games in Boston, played a good game last time out” in San Jose, Coach Adam Oates said. “Jaro gets a week to kind of recuperate and we still feel you need both goalies.”

Thanks to losses earlier this week by the rest of the teams vying for the Eastern Conference’s wild-card berths – Columbus, Detroit and Toronto – Washington could be back in the playoff picture for the first time since Jan. 18 with a win over the Bruins. But the other three teams in the wild-card race play Saturday night, with the Red Wings and Maple Leafs facing off and the Blue Jackets visiting Carolina, so the standings will continue to shift regardless of how the Capitals fare against Boston.

Washington will be without Jack Hillen, who is still experiencing soreness from his collision with Alex Ovechkin in Tuesday’s game, so John Erskine will be back in the lineup for the first time since March 5. Both Hillen and Mikhail Grabovski, who will miss his 22nd of the last 23 games with a sprained left ankle Saturday, will make the trip to Nashville.

Discuss the game right here and pass the time before puck drop with these reads.

Wise: Can McPhee survive the hot seat?

Kuznetsov a quick study in the NHL

Who’s afraid of the big bad Bs?

Svrluga: A season teetering on the edge

Brown is Oates’s latest center project

Laich ‘liberated’ after surgery

Faceoff: 12:30 p.m., Verizon Center
TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM

Here is the Capitals’ lineup.

Forwards
Johansson-Beagle-Ovechkin
Kuznetsov-Backstrom-Brouwer
Chimera-Fehr-Ward
Penner-Brown-Wilson

Defense
Alzner-Carlson
Erskine-Green
Orlov-Wey

Goal:  Holtby, Halak.
Scratches: Brooks Laich (groin), Jack Hillen (upper-body) and Connor Carrick
LTIR: Aaron Volpatti (left shoulder) and Mikhail Grabovski (left ankle).

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