After a worldwide trip around the globe, the Bruins (3-1-0) return to The Hub of Hockey tonight to host their home opener at TD Garden, against a familiar foe, the Washington Capitals (4-2-0). Not to bring up a touchy subject, but tonight’s game will be the first at the Garden for the Bruins since last spring’s crushing Game 7 defeat to the Flyers, blowing a 3-0 series and game lead that gloomy night.
But enough about that… the B’s earned their third straight win on Tuesday night in our nation’s capital, beating the Caps 3-1 to snap their four-game win streak. Boston’s top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton continue to shine on offense, with each player earning a point Tuesday for their fourth straight game.
Fans are already familiar with the Caps, but let’s throw a few more game notes your way before tonight’s game gets under way…
- According to early reports from the team’s morning skate, Tuukka Rask (0-1-0, 4.01GAA) is expected to be in goal tonight for the Bruins. Rask hasn’t seen action since the team’s opening game, a stinker that they lost to Phoenix over in Prague, 5-2. Tim Thomas will sit this one out, riding a three-game win streak in which he has stopped 95 of the 97 shots he has faced, including 35 saves in Tuesday’s win.
- Tim Thomas and the Bruins held the Capitals to just one goal on Tuesday. It was the first time since March 5, 2009 that Washington was held to less than two goals in a regular season home game. The Caps were held below two goals at home twice in their playoff series loss to Montreal, in Games 5 and 7.
- The Caps peppered Thomas with 36 shots total on Tuesday, a season high for Washington. They also allowed just 21 shots that same night, a season low.
- Washington’s impressive penalty-killing streak remains intact despite Tuesday’s defeat. The Capitals are a perfect 25-for-25 on the penalty kill through the team’s first six games. Only one team in the NHL’s post-expansion era has started the season with seven games without giving up a power play goal… that team: the ’08-’09 Minnesota Wild. Boston, incidentally, is just 1-for-15 on the power play through four games this season.
- Mike Green, Washington’s talented young defenseman, returned to practice with the team on Wednesday, after missing the previous two games due to injury. The Caps have already said however, that he will remain out of action for tonight’s tilt in Boston.
- Michal Neuvirth, the goaltender that started the first six games for the Caps, was pulled after less than a period of action on Tuesday night, due to flu-like symptoms. He also practiced on Wednesday, but was still whining about a tummy ache after practice. I’d expect to see Semyon Varlamov in goal to start tonight’s game.
- Lastly, if you’re heading to the game, I hope you don’t have your heart set on hearing the famous Rene Rancourt belt out the National Anthem tonight. Because tonight, fans will be treated to the Star Spangled Banner, sung by newly named American Idol judge Steven Tyler. The Aerosmith frontman will help kick off the Boston Bruins Foundation’s season-long raffle of a customized Bruins motorcycle, built by Dirico Motorcycles, USA, Tyler’s motorcycle company. The bike, which features Bruins graphics, is autographed by Cam Neely, Ray Bourque, Phil Esposito, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic, and Tyler. Raffle tickets are available through www.bruinsraffles.org.
Tags: Boston Bruins, David Krejci, Michal Neuvirth, Mike Green, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Semyon Varlamov, Steven Tyler, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask, Washington Capitals, Zdeno Chara