The fans at Verizon Center will be treated to a game between the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals when they take their seats on Wednesday.
Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District Of Columbia
|53||BOSTON||0 (-110)||5 (-110)||120
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN
PREDICTION: Capitals 4, Bruins 2
Oddsmakers currently have the Capitals listed as 140-moneyline favorites versus the Bruins, while the game’s total is sitting at 5.
WASHINGTON — Two teams that won in overtime Monday meet when the Boston Bruins face the Washington Capitals Wednesday night at Verizon Center.
Boston (15-10-1) brings the momentum, in the form of a three-game winning streak.
After scoring only 21 goals in 11 games, the Bruins defeated the Florida Panthers 4-3 as David Pastrnak scored two goals, including the highlight-reel game-winner.
The 20-year-old winger is third in the NHL with 15 goals in 21 games, matching the number he netted in 51 games last season.
“He’s coming into his own, there’s no doubt about that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien told the Boston Globe. “Confidence wise, it’s at its highest right now, and rightfully so … nice goal, great way for us to finish with that goal.”
Washington (14-7-3) got a similar performance in its 3-2 victory over the Sabres. Marcus Johansson continued his standout season, scoring with 6:18 left in the third period to tie it and adding the game-winner with 2:22 left in overtime to help the Capitals snap a three-game losing streak.
Johansson, whose career-high is 20 goals in 2014-15, has four goals in his last five games and 11 on the season. His third-period tally came on a power play, good news for the struggling Capitals, who rank 23rd in the league, converting 15.2 percent, well below the league average of 17.9 percent.
“That’s what we need from the power play and I think the last few years, that’s what we’ve gotten too,” Johansson told NHL.com. “We have a good power play, we’ve gotten results from it and just hasn’t bounced our way. I think we’ve been making it a little bit too hard and not really taking what’s there.”
Washington’s offense could get help against the Bruins with the possible return of winger T.J. Oshie. He scored eight goals and four assists in the first 17 games before missing the past seven with a shoulder injury.
“I don’t think it’s official,” Oshie said of his return after practicing Tuesday. “I still have got to talk to (coach Barry Trotz) and everything. But yeah, I got into a real practice for a change here and felt pretty good out there, so we’ll see where we go.”
Trotz said the decision on Oshie’s return will be made Wednesday. Washington is 3-3-1 minus the winger.
“Without a doubt, I think Osh in that diamond spot is as good as anybody in the National Hockey League,” Trotz said. “I think he’s tenacious. I think he understands that position, especially on our power play.”
Alex Ovechkin has 17 goals and 21 assists in 39 games against Boston and Nicklas Backstrom has 26 assists in 28 games.
Goalie Braden Holtby is 9-2 with a 1.57 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage when facing Boston.
Bruins netminder Tuuka Rask (14-4-1, 1.68, .939) struggles versus Washington, going 1-8-4 with a 2.92 GAA and .899 save percentage. Meanwhile Anton Khudobin is 4-2-1 with a 2.41 GAA and .923 save percentage in his career versus Washington.
The Bruins have gotten mixed news on the injury front the past few days.
Injured winger Frank Vatrano skated with the team for the first time this season during Tuesday’s practice. He had eight goals and three assists in 34 games as a rookie in 2015-16.
“This is the first time I’ve had an injury and hopefully it’s the last time, but you never know playing this sport,” Vatrano, who suffered torn ligaments in his left foot, told the Boston Globe. “I’ve never been off the ice this long so it’s been a learning process for me.”
On the flip side, the Bruins announced that winger Matt Beleskey, injured in Saturday’s win over the Sabres, will be out six weeks with a knee injury. He had two goals and three assists in 24 games.