PREVIEW: Bruins Welcome Capitals to Garden After Embarrassing Winter Classic

By: Mike Grinnell

The 20-13-4 Bruins welcome the 28-7-3 Washington Capitals, who sit atop the Eastern Conference, to the TD Garden on Tuesday night.

Just like the Bruins, who were recently embarrassed on national television at the Winter Classic, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for the first place Capitals the past week or so.

The Capitals are on a two-game-losing-steak, losing to two very bad teams in Carolina, in which they lost 4-2 on Dec. 31 and also the Columbus Blue Jackets, who the Caps fell to in a shootout on Jan. 2.

Before this 0-1-1 run the Capitals are on, they had won their previous 8 games, going 8-1-1 in their last 10 games opposed to the Bruins 5-4-1 in their previous 10.

Lucky for the Bruins, Joonas Kemppainen will return to the lineup tonight after missing the previous 11 games due to an upper body injury suffered on Dec. 7. Though Kemppainen has only provided the B’s with a goal and 2 assists in 24 games this season, he will immediately help the Bruins, who are lacking up-the-middle since David Krejci was injured.

Kemppainen will look to get the Bruins back on track after a tough outing the team had at the 2016 Bridgestone Winter Classic, that’s starts in the faceoff circle for the Finnish center.

“I think it’s been obvious in the faceoffs and how we’ve lost faceoffs, you know, in our end especially and losing them clean and then other teams get possession of the puck a lot more than we’re used to.” Coach Julien said before Tuesday night’s game. “And you know when you don’t win them you have to chase that puck. When you win it you start with it. People don’t realize sometimes how important that is. And for our team not to have those centermen winning draws I guess closer to 55 percent or more a game is huge. We miss that. And it’s been a huge part of our game; it’s been a strong suit for a long, long time. So there’s no doubt that hurts our game.”

While the faceoff circle is important for the B’s, putting the puck past Braden Holtby should be the Bruins no.1 concern. Holtby is 8-2-0 in his career against the Bruins dating back to the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. Holtby’s 1.52 GAA and .954 SV% against the team should really motivate the team to put some past him tonight.

“I don’t think he was a big topic. You know we had to score some goals there’s no doubt, but for us it was about winning the series. I still remember that game seven overtime goal. It probably, in hindsight, would’ve been called back that I remember. But other than that you know it was a close series. They were still a good team back then too- they had some good players. So that’s about all. You know that was four years ago for me or close to four years ago so when I talk about we need to move on that’s what we’re talking about here” Coach Julien told reporters before Tuesday night’s game, regarding facing Holtby in 2012.

 

Tonights Line Combo’s via DailyFaceoff.com

LW C RW
Loui Eriksson
Loui Eriksson
Patrice Bergeron
Patrice Bergeron
Brett Connolly
Brett Connolly
Matt Beleskey
Matt Beleskey
Ryan Spooner
Ryan Spooner
Landon Ferraro
Landon Ferraro
Frank Vatrano
Frank Vatrano
Joonas Kemppainen
Joonas Kemppainen
Jimmy Hayes
Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo
Zac Rinaldo
Max Talbot
Max Talbot
Tyler Randell
Tyler Randell
Defensive Pairings
Zdeno Chara
Zdeno Chara
Zach Trotman
Zach Trotman
Dennis Seidenberg
Dennis Seidenberg
Colin Miller
Colin Miller
Torey Krug
Torey Krug
Adam McQuaid
Adam McQuaid

 

LW C RW
Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin
Nicklas Backstrom
Nicklas Backstrom
T.J. Oshie
T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky
Andre Burakovsky
Evgeny Kuznetsov
Evgeny Kuznetsov
Justin Williams
Justin Williams
Jason Chimera
Jason Chimera
Marcus Johansson
Marcus Johansson
Tom Wilson
Tom Wilson
Brooks Laich
Brooks Laich
Zach Sill
Zach Sill
Stanislav Galiev
Stanislav Galiev
Defensive Pairings
Karl Alzner
Karl Alzner
Matt Niskanen
Matt Niskanen
Dmitri Orlov
Dmitri Orlov
Nate Schmidt
Nate Schmidt
Aaron Ness
Aaron Ness
Taylor Chorney
Taylor Chorney

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