The Boston Bruins broke out of their scoring slump with an impressive victory their last time out, but it may have come too late with time running out on their playoff chances.
The Bruins try to sweep the season series from the lowly Washington Capitals for the first time in 13 years on Thursday.
After scoring just two goals during a three-game losing streak, Boston (33-31-5) won 6-3 Sunday over Detroit, one of the top teams in the NHL. The Bruins finally got their power play back on track, scoring on 2-of-5 chances after going 0-for-22 with the man advantage in their previous five games.
“We’ve been without the power play, and we forecheck a little bit more aggressive as a group,” said Marco Sturm, who had two goals and an assist on Sunday. “We attack their D and that’s what we have to do.”
The Bruins are tied with Florida for 12th place in the Eastern Conference with 71 points. They trail Carolina and the New York Islanders, who are tied for seventh, by seven points with 13 games remaining.
The Capitals (24-34-12), meanwhile, have no playoff aspirations with the second-worst record in the East.
Washington lost 4-2 to Atlanta on Monday, extending its season-high losing streak to eight games. The Capitals have not lost nine consecutive games since dropping 13 in a row from Oct. 11-Nov. 11, 1981.
The Bruins have won all three meetings with the Capitals this season, but they easily could have been on the losing end in each of those contests. Boston has won each game by one goal, with two of the victories coming in a shootout and one coming in overtime.
The Bruins are 6-0-1 against Washington since the start of last season, with five of those games going to extra time, and have not swept the season series from the Capitals since 1993-94.
Tim Thomas has been in net for each of the victories over the Capitals this season, posting a 1.87 goals-against average. In his career against Washington, Thomas is 6-0-1 with a 1.93 GAA, his best marks against any opponent he has faced more than twice.
Boston center Marc Savard had three assists on Sunday to give him 67, the third-most in the league. Savard has six assists against Washington this season after recording four goals and 14 assists in eight games against the Capitals in 2005-06 while playing for the Thrashers.
Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin scored two goals against Atlanta, giving him 41 on the season after recording 52 last season as a rookie. He’s the fourth player in Capitals history with more than one 40-goal season, but the 21-year-old star said he tries to avoid keeping a close watch on his personal stats.
“If I think about it, I don’t score,” he said.
Ovechkin has seven goals and three assists during the Capitals’ eight-game skid, and three goals and three assists in seven career games against the Bruins.
Capitals goalie Olie Kolzig is expected to make his first appearance Thursday after missing a month with a knee injury. Kolzig is 19-19-5 with a 3.06 GAA this season.
Washington is 1-9-4 since Feb. 10, and just 2-15-1 on the road since Dec. 26.