The Boston Bruins may be eager to help keep the Washington Capitals out of the playoffs given what happened the last time the teams met in Massachusetts.
Another overtime loss to the Capitals is even fresher in their minds, and they'll be out to avenge that defeat Saturday.
Joel Ward stunned the Boston crowd with an overtime goal in Game 7 of a first-round playoff series last April as the seventh-seeded Capitals ended the Bruins' defense of their Stanley Cup title.
Eric Fehr did the honors in the extra session March 5, when Washington beat the Bruins 4-3 at home in a game Boston led 3-0 after the first period.
Still, the Capitals (11-14-1) are struggling to find consistency, and they're seven points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference even after ending a three-game losing streak Thursday with a 3-2 win at Carolina.
Boston (18-4-3) is one point off the conference lead, although the team didn't seem all that thrilled with its play in Thursday's 4-1 win over Florida.
"We're not necessarily playing our best hockey right now," said Patrice Bergeron, who scored a pair of goals and improved his rating to plus-20. "Big two points, I guess we'll take it, but we've got to be much better.
"It's such a short season, the next game comes quick. So we've got to shake it off, learn from it, and be better next game."
Most teams would love the idea of shaking off a win, but the Bruins have good reason to forget their recent history with the Capitals in town. They lost three home games in the playoff series last year and have won only three times in Washington's last 11 visits.
This will be Adam Oates' first game as a head coach in Boston, where he had some of the best seasons of his Hall of Fame playing career. He posted a career-best 142 points for the Bruins in 1992-93.
One of Oates' biggest challenges this season has been trying to get Alex Ovechkin back to MVP form. Ovechkin had been a minus-6 with no points during Washington's three-game skid, but he came up big in the third period Thursday.
He scored on the power play to tie the game 1:01 into the period, then got an assist on Mike Ribeiro's game-winner with 2:16 left. Ovechkin couldn't bury his late breakaway chance, but Ribeiro got a stick on the rebound to push it across the line.
Oates then gave Ovechkin an earful after time expired.
"I'm trying to establish a rapport with him so he trusts me in all of the little situations in the game," Oates said. "And I was making fun of him that he whiffed it."
Ribeiro, who leads the Capitals with 29 points, ended a 10-game goal drought against the Bruins earlier this month. Ovechkin, who figures to see a lot of Zdeno Chara on Saturday, has only three goals in his last 17 games versus Boston.
Tuukka Rask is nonetheless winless in four career starts against Washington with a 3.61 goals-against average, but he may get a rest anyway with the Bruins visiting Pittsburgh on Sunday. Anton Khudobin yielded three late goals to the Penguins in a 3-2 loss Tuesday.
Braden Holtby could get his first regular-season start in Boston, where he stopped 137 of 143 shots in four playoff games.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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