Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 10th 2024

For the Boston Bruins, it has been a tale of two vastly different games to begin a lengthy seven-game homestand on the back side of the NHL All-Star break.

The Bruins dropped a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday in their return to action. But on Thursday, they dominated the Vancouver Canucks in a 4-0 shutout. On Saturday, the Bruins will look to continue riding the winning track when they host the Washington Capitals in the teams’ first meeting of the season.

First-period short-handed goals by Brad Marchand and Danton Heinen set the tone for a complete bounce-back win against Vancouver. Linus Ullmark needed to make just 17 saves, the fewest shots on goal allowed by the Bruins this season.

“I just cared about how tenacious and aggressive we were going to be mentally and go out and try and force the issue and I thought we did that, and I thought our penalty kill led us that way,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said.

The shutout was Ullmark’s first this season. Montgomery expects to keep the team’s goaltending rotation between Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman for the foreseeable future.

On the offensive side, Pavel Zacha had a goal and an assist, while Charlie Coyle and David Pastrnak had two helpers apiece against the Canucks.

Coyle’s playmaking helped extend his points streak to 10 games. He has four goals and 15 points over that span.

“I think we’ve been playing good hockey as of late,” Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm said. “After the break, it was nice to see us respond like that after a tough loss (to Calgary) and getting back to those good habits to boost up.”

With rookie forward Matt Poitras on long-term injured reserve following shoulder surgery, the Bruins recalled speedy center Anthony Richard from Providence of the American Hockey League on Thursday.

Montgomery said that there is a “real good chance” that Richard makes his Bruins debut on Saturday, having impressed with “his tenacity on pucks, his forechecking and his speed.”

The Capitals are winless (0-5-1) since Jan. 18. Alex Ovechkin and Anthony Mantha scored, but 1-0 and 2-1 leads slipped in Washington’s 4-2 road loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

“We have to find a way to dig in and find a way to sustain it,” Washington coach Spencer Carbery said. “We have to find a way to have more consistency over 60 minutes.”

Ovechkin has scored goals in three consecutive games and has 13 points in his past 13 games.

The Capitals were on the short end of a 41-23 shots advantage against Florida, though the count was even at 13 through the first period. Mantha said believes that there is room for the team to grow in terms of starting offense.

“If you do have the answer, we’ve been looking for it for a while now. I don’t know,” Mantha said. “It feels like we’re one and done. We’re trying something on the entry and it doesn’t work, and now we’re playing 40 seconds in our zone.”

Washington played Thursday’s game without defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (illness).

Saturday marks the first of three Bruins-Capitals meetings this season. The teams are scheduled to meet March 30 and April 15 in Washington, D.C.

Boston has won four of the past six encounters since Jan. 10, 2022.

–Field Level Media

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