The NHL is set up with a great night of action throughout April 8. Ten games are up on the board throughout Thursday night. One of these games will be between the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals. These two teams have been strong throughout this season, which should lead to a good game. This matchup will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time on ESPN+.
The Bruins have put up a record of 20-10-6 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in fourth place of the East Division. Boston is coming off a win and have gone 4-2-2 through their last eight. The Bruins will look to earn their second straight win for the first time since mid-March. Boston has a five point hold on the fourth seed and will look to create more distance with a win in this one.
Washington has earned a record of 25-10-4 throughout this season, which has them sitting in a tie for the top spot with the New York Islanders. The Capitals are coming off a loss in their last game and will look to keep up the pace with New York with a bounce back win in this one. Washington has been strong throughout this season and will look to grab an important win in this one.
These two teams have been solid throughout this season, which should lead to a great game on Wednesday night. The Capitals have been a bit better throughout this season, but Boston will look to pull off a road upset in this one. These two teams are fighting for playoff positioning right now, which means this could be a potential first round matchup.
The Bruins and the Capitals met up four times throughout this season. Washington hosted the first game of the season series on January 30. Patrice Bergeron had three assists, while Charlie McAvoy added a goal and an assist. Nicklas Backstrom finished with a goal and two assists and Alex Ovechkin scored a goal and added an assist. Vitek Vanecek stopped 40 of 43 shots as the Capitals earned a 4-3 win in OT.
Washington also hosted the second game of the season series on February 1. Jakub Vrana put up two assists on the night for the Capitals, but this time it was not enough. David Pastrnak scored twice, while Brandon Carlo and Brad Marchand both earned a goal and an assist. The Bruins were able to ride a strong third period to a 5-3 win on the road.
The third game of the season series shifted to Boston on March 3. David Pastrnak opened up the scoring, which was enough to force extra time. Lars Eller tied it up shortly after and Jakub Vrana scored the winner in the shootout. Tuukka Rask finished with 27 saves on 28 shots as the Bruins were able to earn a 2-1 win in the shootout.
The fourth and most recent game of the season series stayed in Boston on March 5. Jakub Vrana scored the lone goal for the Capitals, which was not enough. Brad Marchand had two goals and an assist on the night. Patrice Bergeron finished with a goal and an assist, while Charlie McAvoy had two assists. Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 of 32 shots to help lead the Bruins to a 5-1 win at home.
Boston has been strong on both sides of special teams throughout this season. The Bruins have scored on 26 of their 108 power play opportunities, which is a 24.1 percent power play. Boston has given up 13 power play goals on the 115 penalties against them, which is an 88.7 percent kill rate. The Bruins will look to keep up their solid start to special teams this season.
The Capitals have also been strong on special teams to this point in the season. Washington has capitalized on 23 of their 96 power play chances, which is a 24 percent success rate. The Capitals have killed off 97 of their opponents 117 power play attempts, which is an 82.9 percent penalty kill. Washington will look to stay hot on special teams.
These two teams have put up very similar power play numbers throughout this season, but the Bruins have the edge with their penalty kill. Washington has taken more penalties than they have drawn and will need to stay out of the box in this one. If Boston can get more opportunities with the man advantage, it could be enough for the win in this one.
I expect Daniel Vlader to get the start in the crease for the Bruins in this one. Vlader has started in 4 games this season, going 2-1-1. He has put up a save percentage of .922 and a 2.25 GAA throughout those starts. Vlader’s last start was against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 5, where he stopped 29 of 32 shots in the overtime loss.
Ilya Samsonov will likely get the nod between the pipes for Washington on Thursday night. Samsonov has earned a record of 9-2-1 through his 12 starts this season. He has posted a .896 save percentage and a GAA of 2.87 through those games. Samsonov finished with 35 saves on 39 shots against the New Jersey Devils in route to a win in his last start.
These two goalies have been solid through their starts this season. Vlader has only played in four games, stepping up in all of them. He has lost his last two starts after opening the season at 2-0. The Bruins will look to give Vlader some extra help in this one. Samsonov struggled a bit in his last outing and will look to bounce back in this one to help shut down a dangerous Boston offense.
These two teams have been battling it out for playoff spots this season, which should bump up the intensity in this one. Boston has been in a win one, lose one scenario in their recent stretch, but I think they can grab their second straight win in this one. If the Bruins can draw some power plays against Washington, they should be able to gain the momentum to earn a win in this one.
BetOnline has the Capitals listed as a -110 against the money line in this one. This implies that Washington will win this game around 52.4 percent of the time. I think that the Capitals deserve this line, but I think Boston has a great chance in this one. The Bruins are coming in off a nice win and will look to grab another victory on Thursday night.