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GDT#33 Capitals at Bruins Dec 14, 2017

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Dec. 14 vs. Boston Bruins at TD Garden
Time: 7:00 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washingto
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, Capitals Radio 24/7

Washington Capitals 19-12-1
Boston Bruins 15-9-4

Tom Kowal (#32), Brad Watson (#23)
Bryan Pancich (#94), Tim Nowak (#77)

Anticipated lines
Alex Ovechkin 8- Nicklas Backstrom 19-Tom Wilson 43
Jakub Vrana 13- Evgeny Kuznetsov 92- Alex Chiasson 39
Andre Burakovsky 65- Lars Eller 20- Brett Connolly 10
Chandler Stephenson 18- Jay Beagle 83- Devante Smith-Pelly 25
Scratched: T.J. Oshie (“upper body”)
Brooks Orpik 44- John Carlson 74
Dmitry Orlov 9- Matt Niskanen 2
Christian Djoos 29- Madison Bowey 22
Scratched: Taylor Chorney
Braden Holtby 70 (starter)
Philipp Grubauer 31

By Isabelle Khurshudyan 
December 14 at 1:12 PM    
BOSTON — Matt Niskanen said he was “running out of space to stand” last week against the New York Rangers, when the Capitals defenseman found himself directly beside the net, in perfect position to tap-in the game-winning goal. It’s a little unusual to see a blueliner in that spot in the offensive zone, but it’s Washington’s preference to have its defensemen consistently involved in the attack.

The next game, it was Dmitry Orlov who joined the rush, finishing a Chandler Stephenson pass for the Capitals’ only goal in a 3-1 loss to the Islanders. On Tuesday night, defenseman John Carlson’s point shot beat Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov and then Niskanen later scored on a two-on-one with center Evgeny Kuznetsov.

It certainly seems like Washington’s defensemen have tried to be more active in the offense.

“I’d say the last five games for sure,” Niskanen said. “We’ve always talked about it, but sometimes you just need a reminder to get your butt up in the play.”

Said Carlson: “I think maybe we see what it creates and opens up sometimes, and maybe we’re doing it a little bit more. But it’s always been a goal to get four guys in the attack and play that way. I think most every team does that now, and it has an effect on the way teams play rushes. I think it yields more opportunity and chances.”

Perhaps the team as a whole is more comfortable with the aggressive approach at this point in the season, when Washington has won eight of its past 10 games playing some of its best hockey. Rookies Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos have 20-plus games of NHL experience now and look significantly better than at the start of the season. Niskanen was out of the lineup for 13 games with a thumb injury, and his return has helped stabilize the minutes, especially among the top four blueliners.

When Niskanen was out, Carlson was playing more than 27 minutes per game, and in the 14 games Niskanen has been back in the lineup, Carlson has averaged less than 25. Carlson has three goals and 20 assists through 32 games this season, and the lighter workload has maybe given him more energy to jump up into rushes. It’s also helped that the Capitals haven’t been pinned in their own zone as much lately, which is exhausting in itself.

It’s usually the weak side defenseman that has to join a rush to make it dangerous, and even if he doesn’t get the puck in that situation, the forwards get more space in a four-on-three or four-on-two situation.

“It’s kind of a trust thing, too,” Niskanen said. “It’s a feel play because you can’t go every time because of the threat of a turnover. I think it’s just a feel thing where, as the play is developing, you can recognize where you can jump in and support the rush. There’s an art to it. It’s not just, go every time. You could be reckless. There’s a balance there, and it’s something we’ve talked about, just the habit of following up hard at the very least if you’re in position to support the offense.”

Said Carlson: “I think it just depends on how the play goes and where you start and what point of the shift you are, but I think anytime you’re not changing you need to be in the rush.”

Oshie out again

Forward T.J. Oshie didn’t travel with the Capitals to Boston, staying back in Washington to continue skating on his own. Thursday night’s game against the Bruins will be the fifth he’s missed with an undisclosed “upper-body” injury, but Coach Barry Trotz said it’s possible Oshie practices with the team Friday afternoon. If that does indeed happen, there’s a strong possibility Oshie will be back in the lineup on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks.

Supposedly the Bruins aren't starting Tukka Rask because he has a bad track record against the Caps.

With some many changes in teams lineups year-to-year, do you buy that some goalies just don't play well against certain teams?


--- Quote from: justwincaps on December 14, 2017, 07:06:41 PM ---Supposedly the Bruins aren't starting Tukka Rask because he has a bad track record against the Caps.

With some many changes in teams lineups year-to-year, do you buy that some goalies just don't play well against certain teams?

--- End quote ---
  I think Tuuka played lastnight

We should win this as we are rested and they on on the end of a back to back game series.




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