BOSTON — Saturday’s 1 p.m. matinee marks the first meeting of the year between the Capitals and the Bruins, but they’ll play all three of their regular season matchups against each other in the next four weeks so it’s time to get accustomed to seeing Zdeno Chara and the rest of the Big Bad Bs.
Even though they haven’t seen each other yet this season, Coach Adam Oates said that the players know what they’re up against when facing the grinding Boston squad.
“It’s funny, I think the Bruins are one of those teams where you almost don’t need a meeting. They know who they are,” Oates said. “We’re not going to try and out-physical them. That’s their bread and butter. We’ve got to try and play smart. We beat them two out of three last year, we can play with them and I’m looking forward to it because it’s a great measuring stick for us.”
Braden Holtby (18-13-2, 2.91 goals against average, .912 save percentage) will start against the Bruins, who will go with Tuukka Rask (25-13-4, 2.11 goals against average, .928 save percentage). The Capitals are the only team in the Eastern Conference that Rask has not recorded a win against in his career: He’s 0-2-3 against Washington.
Martin Erat is limping after taking a slap shot off his foot against the Panthers Thursday and was clearly limited when he came out for warmups. After taking skating three loops in warmups, Erat spoke with the Capitals’ athletic trainers and headed to the dressing room.
Have to wonder how much more challenging this injury may make for the Capitals to move Erat. General Manager George McPhee also told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that he would like to accommodate the veteran forward’s long-standing trade request before the deadline Wednesday at 3 p.m. and send Erat elsewhere as early as this weekend, if possible.
With Erat unavailable Casey Wellman, who was recalled on an emergency basis, will center the second line and Marcus Johansson will shift to left wing of that unit.
Discuss the game right here and pass the time before puck drop with these reads.
Faceoff: 1 p.m., TD Garden
TV: CSN, NHL Network | Radio: 106.7 FM
Here is the Capitals’ lineup.
Goal: Holtby, Neuvirth.
Scratches: Mikhail Grabovski (left ankle), Martin Erat (lower body).
LTIR: Jack Hillen (fractured tibial plateau) and Aaron Volpatti (left shoulder).