Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Big Bad Boston Bruins

The Capitals will gauge how good they are as they face a very good Boston team. In fact, the Bruins are first place in the Eastern Conference. You want some encouraging news? Even when the Capitals were going through a tough stretch last year, they beat the number one team in the east.

The Ottawa Senators were playing with reckless abandon. The seemed slighted after coming so close to the Stanley Cup only to fall to the mean ol' Anaheim Ducks. They started the '07 -'08 season 12-1-0 before they played the Capitals who were in last place. It looked like the Senators were making a strong case for the dominant team in the league.

But the Caps (who lost 4 straight and won only once in the last 12 coming into Ottawa) seemed ready for the challenge, handing the Senators a 4-1 loss at Scotiabank Place. With the Senators being such a heavy handed favorite, the Capitals rose their game to the occasion and played solidly. It wasn't the perfect game, the Caps did have to kill a 5 on 3, but for once the Caps outworked the top team in the east.

While this is a different Capitals team, the premise is not too far off as the Caps face the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are off to their fastest start since the 80's. They are a hard working group that seems to have put the pieces together finally. They could be a due for a loss.

The Capitals can not just bank that this hard working Bruin team is due. They have to match the Bruins intensity. And the good news, the game is at Verizon Center. A very unwelcomed place for opponents this year. Even more good news, an injured player may play.

The Caps have seven players that are listed "day-to-day" and there is a possibility that the defensive core could be bolstered for the Bruin game, and many could be back in the line up by the weekend according to Bruce Boudreau.

Per Tarik and the Wash Post: "I'm optimistic that they are looking better - they actually participated in practice today," Boudreau said. "They're all questionable. I'm hoping we'll have two or three back by the weekend. It would be a blessing if any came back earlier."

Sami Lepisto was sent back down to Hershey which opens a slot for an injured player to return. The Caps still miss two important forwards in Sergei Fedorov and Alex Semin who both seem frustrated with their progress. In the mean time the Caps seem to be sharing the load more evenly than in years past, not having to rely on Alex Ovechkin as much.

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