Boston Bruins Have Their Hands Full With Washington Capitals

Greg MalinContributor IDecember 9, 2008

The Boston Bruins head into Washington Wednesday night, after beating Florida once and Tampa Bay twice, with a 17-2-1 record over the past 20 games and 19-4-4 overall for first in the Eastern Conference. The Capitals enter the game with a 15-10-3 record and are atop the weak Southeast Division.

Even though the Bruins are 9-1-0 in their last ten games, the Capitals come into the game with a strong 10-1-1 record at home this season, which is good enough to be tied for first in the Eastern Conference at home.

Phil Kessel looks to extend a 12 game scoring streak in which he has 10 goals and 6 assists for 16 points. Kessel also ranks third in the goal category with 17. 

For most of the season, Alexander Semin has led the Washington Capitals to their success, but due to an upper body injury, Semin hasn't played since November 14th and will not play tomorrow against the Bruins. 

Marc Savard, the Bruins leading point scorer with 32 points, hasn't racked up a point in his previous two games, but look for him to get back on track Wednesday. Alexander Ovechkin is third in scoring with 35 points, only behind Malkin and Crosby who are lighting it up for Pittsburgh. 

Even though significant injuries back up Boston on the blue line, Dennis Wideman and Shane Hnidy have increased their play through time on ice and special teams play. The Capitals are also without all-star Mike Green at defense. 

Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez both rank in the top five in goals against average and save percentage. The play of both the Bruins' goalies have been constant and effective through the great defensive effort in front of them.

On the other side, Jose Theodore and Brent Johnson have split time, usually without as much success as the Bruins net minders. Some nights the Capitals goalies are on their games, but other nights it could look like a whole different person in net. 

If the Capitals goalie is able to shut down the Bruins in the first period, look for the Capitals to gain a momentum boost heading into the rest of the game. But if the Bruins shooters get to the Capitals goalie in the first then its gonna be a wide open, shooting gallery game.

Prediction: 4-2 Bruins

Difference makers:

Bruins-Savard, Kessel

Capitals-Theodore\Johnson, Ovechkin, Backstrom