The Boston Bruins will be on the road for Wednesday night hockey against the Washington Capitals. Both teams sit near the top of the power rankings and have been off to hot starts this season. While there are still a lot of games left to be played, an early-season matchup of top teams is always fun to watch.
The Bruins have raced off to a 20-5-6 start this season, giving them one of the top records in the NHL. They have, however, drop their last three straight games. With losses to the Blackhawks, the Avalanche, and now the Senators, the Bruins have their longest losing streak of the season entering a very tough game. It will be interesting to see if Boston bounces back and plays to the ability of their opponent, or continues to slide in the wrong direction.
Leading the way for the Bruins has been Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Pastrnak leads the league in goals with 25 right now while Marchand leads the Bruins with 28 assists and 46 overall points. Like any other team, if the Capitals want to slow down the Bruins, they will have to start by slowing down their dangerous top line.
Getting the nod between the pipes for the Bruins will be their backup goalie Jaroslav Halak. While he is a backup, don’t let that fool you. Halak has a 7-2-3 record so far this season with a .930 save percentage, better than either of the Capital’s goaltenders.
The Bruins are averaging 3.45 goals a game this season while giving up 2.39. They are dead even with the Capitals averaging 31.5 shots per game while allowing 31.2. A key to look out for is also that the Bruins have the best power-play percentage in the NHL.
The Capitals have been back and forth with them for the number one spot all year. This past week the Capitols regained the title of the best record in the NHL at 22-5-5. Even in the goals competition, Ovechkin has been sitting right behind Pastrnak all season.
The Capitals are coming off a loss of their own when they fell to the Blue Jackets on Monday 5-2. They will look to bounce back in this one at home and increase to 23 wins this season.
Leading the Caps is veteran Alex Ovechkin and defenseman John Carlson. Ovechkin has already tallied 21 goals this season, while Carlson leads the team with 32 assists and 43 total points.
In net for Washington will be starter Braden Holtby. He carries a 15-3-4 record so far this year with a 2.84 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
The Washington Capitals are averaging 3.56 goals per game while allowing 2.84, right on track with Holtby’s average. There is no doubt these are two of the top teams in the NHL right now, and they are both coming losses; it will be interesting to see which team will bounce back.
What to expect
While both teams have been great this season, the Capitals do have the advantage of being at home. Both sides lost their last games, but the Bruins have lost three straight, and their last one to the outmatched Senators was an ugly showing. I like the Capitals to take the win at home in this one and force the Bruins to take a look at their gameplan to get off their losing streak.