|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET21:00 BRT, March 3, 2021
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts Attendance: 0
Zdeno Chara set for return to Boston as Caps face Bruins
Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins
- Boston has taken points in five of its last six games against Washington, going 3-1-2 over that span. However, Washington won eight straight road games in Boston from October 2014 -- November 2019 before losing on its last trip there in December 2019.
- Boston has played just six home games, second fewest in the NHL. However, the team has outscored opponents by 2.0 goals per game at home this season, second best in the NHL (Lightning, +2.50). Boston has a -5 goal differential on the road, which ranks tied for 20th in the NHL.
- Washington has gone 4-0-1 in its last five games, scoring 3.8 goals per game and allowing 2.4 goals per game in this stretch. Over the Capitals' previous seven games, the team went 2-5-0, scoring 2.7 goals per game while allowing 4.0 goals per game.
- David Pastrnak has had two straight multi-assist games, and of the 12 games he's played this season, six have been multi-point games. Only three players in the NHL (Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Mitchell Marner) had more points in their first 12 games this season than Pastrnak (18).
- Brad Marchand has scored a goal in each of his last three against the Capitals, totaling six points (3g, 3a) in those meetings. Boston is 11-2-2 when he has at least a point this season, compared to 1-3-0 when he has none.
- Nicklas Backstrom scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season last time out, the Caps' 21st game of the season, after having just 12 goals last season in 61 games. He's one of seven NHL players with 10+ goals and 15+ assists this season.
- Marleau ties Howe's games played record
- Rangers' Buchnevich scores 3 on birthday
- Panthers beat Tampa, now 2nd in Central
- Ovechkin scores 2, Capitals beat Flyers
- Pens edge Sabres, move into 2nd in East
Had it been scheduled later this month, Zdeno Chara's first game back in Boston after 14 years with the Bruins could have coincided with the recently approved return of fans to TD Garden.
But that's not how it worked out for the Washington Capitals defenseman. As it stands, it makes no difference to him as the Capitals prepare to visit the Bruins for the first time this season on Wednesday night.
"The environment (in Boston) is something I was very close with for many years, but I think we all have to realize that once the puck is dropped, you really have to focus on what's going on inside the glass and just perform," said the 43-year-old Chara, who is averaging 19:24 of ice time in his first season with the Capitals.
Boston's first home game with fans is slated to take place March 23, with 12-percent capacity being admitted per the state of Massachusetts' COVID-19 protocols.
Wednesday's matchup will be the first of two this week between the teams. The Capitals and Bruins play again in Boston on Friday.
Washington has won three in a row and boasts a 6-1-1 mark in its last eight games, while Boston is coming off a 4-1 rout of the New York Rangers on Sunday. The Bruins had been outscored 13-4 in their previous two contests.
"That's Bruins hockey for us," said forward Charlie Coyle, who scored twice in Sunday's win. "We get the result more times than not when we play that way. You could see it every shift, guys doing their job and playing their role. It plays into our identity, and that's huge."
Boston's defense also clamped down after its back-to-back rough showings. Tuukka Rask made 20 saves against New York.
In another positive, the Bruins welcomed center David Krejci (lower body) back to practice in a regular jersey Tuesday. Krejci has been sidelined since Feb. 18. Also practicing was defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who has been out since Feb. 10 with a lower-body injury.
Washington has some key injuries of its own, with center Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body) missing the team's two-game series against the New Jersey Devils over the weekend. It didn't slow the team down too much, as the Capitals recorded 5-2 and 3-2 victories.
Sunday's win saw goaltender Ilya Samsonov make 19 saves in his first game since Jan. 17 following a lengthy recovery from COVID-19. Samsonov allowed goals early in the first and second periods before settling in to hold the Devils off in a scoreless third period.
"When it's 3-2 and the game is hanging in the balance, I actually thought that's when (Samsonov) was at his best, and so he did get better as the game went on," Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. "In the third period, he made some really key saves for our team, which allowed us to walk out with the points."
The Capitals and Bruins played twice earlier this season at Washington. The teams split the meetings, although Boston left with three points (1-0-1) after dropping a 4-3 overtime decision on Jan. 30 and posting a 5-3 win two days later.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 3, 2021