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Posted at 12:31 PM ET, 12/18/2010

Both Caps and Bruins look to break out of slumps

By Katie Carrera

While the Bruins' current three-game skid pales in comparison to the Capitals' seven-game slide, both teams will take the ice tonight looking to vanquish their ongoing struggles. Boston hasn't been able to get off to a strong start in recent contests, and most recently fell behind 3-1 to Montreal on Thursday before an eventual 4-3 loss.

A fast start certainly wouldn't hurt the Capitals either, particularly against a team that's beaten them two out of three times already this year.

"It's going to be the kind of game like it was against Anaheim, but with them - Anaheim only has that one really good line -- the Bruins have four pretty good lines so it's going to be a tough one for us," Jason Chimera said. "It has to be about all the little things for us again, we did so many of them well against Anaheim and we're going to need that again."

For the fourth time this season, Washington will try to crack Tim Thomas, who still leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.63), save percentage (.951) and shutouts (5). Thomas faced 100 shots in the previous three games against the Capitals combined, and allowed just five goals.

"They're just a meat and potatoes, really good team right through the lineup," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You just have to play really perfect hockey to beat them then you have to play more perfect hockey to beat Thomas."

While the Capitals succeeded with a defensive approach against the Ducks, it's hard to know which side of its game Washington will use against the opportunistic Bruins. The lines are different from Wednesday night, although we'll have to wait until warm-up to know the exact pairings.

Boudreau reiterated this morning that he liked the Capitals' dedication to the game plan against Anaheim and regardless of what system they use, wants to see the same against the Bruins.

"I like the commitment that they had to it, the way they followed through on it," Boudreau said. "We might change tonight and go back to being aggressive because we haven't scored, and we've been successful against Boston in the past using that type of system."

Despite the losing streak that the Capitals want to end as soon as possible, there was an upbeat mood in the visitor's dressing room at TD Garden. Although Washington wasn't pleased after its most recent loss to Anaheim, with players saying it stings just as much as a blowout at this point, the Capitals are trying to fight off the doldrums in order to break this streak.

"The easiest thing to do is get negative and down," Chimera said. "Everyone in the media everyone around does that enough for us. We can't let ourselves get down or we'll never get out of this."

--Mike Knuble will skate tonight without the chin guard he's worn on his helmet since breaking his jaw in Atlanta on Nov. 19.

By Katie Carrera  | December 18, 2010; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  Boston Bruins, Bruce Boudreau, Jason Chimera  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Michal Neuvirth to start against Bruins
Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Bruins

Comments

Leaving for the game in 45 mins....watching Beagle and Gordon instead of DJK is gonna make my stomach sick. With the lineup we're putting out tonight, my $ is on the Bruins but I'll still don my jersey and root for the team.

CapRuins tonight?!?

Posted by: vermontcaps | December 18, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

With Fehr being scratched and Semin out does this mean that AGordon will be on the 2nd line RW?

If so, it is his opportunity to show what he has.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 18, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I have been out of town on business, so let me first say Mike Wise, you know nothing. That article was pure poop, HBO is to blame, please. He did see that OV is not captain material, so he is not completely oblivious.
Next BB may chuck his defense first system after one game and go for broke with pond hockey. What a boob, can we please get rid of this guy before it's too late?
Erskine for 2 more years, now? Why, is the Erksine market peaking in December? The guy plays with an edge and heart, so I like that, but are there many suitors for a 6/7 defenseman?
Finally, is Semin going to lace on his skates tonight or no.
I hope the Caps play sound defensive hockey tonight and get a win, but I can't say I'd put money on a Caps win with TT in net and the Caps shooting unscreened perimeter shots.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | December 18, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

exactly right chimera! you guys have to lift yourselves up, or nobody will. whatever happens, just play your game based on your plan. we your fans believe in you. you can do this. GO CAPS!

Posted by: capsfan2007 | December 18, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Respecting BigBaby, "I'm getting Nananah, nananah, hey hey good bye" chant ready if the Caps flame out again

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | December 18, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Not surprised Fehr is scratched. Been in awful lot recently. Wonder if they are doing it to see Andrew Gordon get quality minutes to see if they can then move Fehr to somewhere. Hopefully Gordon playing with MP will get them both going, had good chemistry together in Hershey.

Posted by: ThePat | December 18, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

@ ThePat, Yeah, I think Fehr's days are numbered if GMGM can find someone willing to take him. He has great potential, but has never even half lived up to it. Man, Getzlaf one pick afterwards, shoulda, coulda, woulda...

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | December 18, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

It took a 7 game losing streak but for the 1st time in a very long time (1st time this season) the Caps are the underdog. Granted it's only +110 but regardless we are underdogs tonight.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | December 18, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

from previous thread:

anyone catch the Hershey game last night? ouch, that was one terrible performance. They played the Flyers farm team which is having a pretty rough yr, they're like 4 and 23, and they lost. And played lackluster from what I saw. I watched the 2nd and 3rd pds. Patrick McNeill looks like Tom Poti out there.
Hershey's facing some adversity this yr as well, same way the Caps are. The Bears are ranked 3rd in their div, 8th in the conf, and 15th in the league. A far cry from their recent yrs but in Hershey's case its more forgivable considering they were due for a bit of a lull after having such good success the last few yrs. A yr of transition for both teams I think.

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 18, 2010 1:31 PM
---------------------

@cstanton
That was Patrick MacNeill's first game of the season, so cut him some slack. He had shoulder surgery in the summer and has been rehabbing it till now. And beyond that, the Hershey defense is a shambles. After Carlson and Alzner graduated to the Caps, the Bears have been making do with ECHL callups and NHL has-beens. And last night Souray and Dylan Yeo both got hurt, so the 2nd and 3rd periods were played with just 4 defensemen. Add in the fact that our best goalie, Neuvy also graduated to the Caps. And our offense is suffering as well. Giroux, Bourque and Kyle Wilson left. Perreault, AGordon and Beagle are currently on recall to the Caps. That pretty much leaves Keith Aucoin (also just returning from injury) and a bunch of kids to carry the load. It's amazing that the Bears are doing as well as they are.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 18, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Anyone from CI going to the game? I'm pregaming with a Bruins fan friend of mine at Boston Beerworks. Come say hi if you like.

Posted by: ranndino | December 18, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, the game is on CSN+ tonight so everyone can watch that turd Lebron and the Heat pound the Wizards. Didn't CSN say that ALL Caps games this year would be in HD regardless of which channel they were on? I'm going to channel my inner Comic Book Guy, "Worst Cable/TV provider EVER!"

Posted by: eorr53 | December 18, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Trade semin before he goes to khl at the end of the season!After he is trade Fehr will get hot too and we will be stuck with the next Nylander.

Posted by: sporttraveler | December 18, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Trade semin before he goes to khl at the end of the season!After he is traded Fehr will get hot too and we will be stuck with the next Nylander.

Posted by: sporttraveler | December 18, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Eor-

The games on csn+ are broadcast in hd. Too bad fios here in se Va. Doesn't have CSn+ in hd

Posted by: Dizruption | December 18, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Tess, I realize all that about McNeill. I've watched him enough not to throw him under the bus for one game. But overall he's not a strong defensive player. He's your prototypical dman with some skills with the puck who is weak in his own end. I'm not a fan.

I think the Bears all season have looked weaker than in past yrs. They've had problems with the good teams and beaten up on the lesser teams. And once in a while like last night they've lost to a horrid team.

I don't have a huge problem with this. I think its good for a team to get a reality check once in a while and face this kind of adversity. Sailing thru the reg season the way the Caps did last yr did em no favors.

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 18, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Our forwards will have their work cut out for them tonight. Boston's D is nicely rugged and our forwards will have to fight thru some contact to get to the net. They probably won't find it very easy to set up camp there.

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 18, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"The easiest thing to do is get negative and down," Chimera said

------------------------

I thought the easiest thing was to pick and choose what games you would decide to play hard in Mr Chimmychoochoo.

Here's a clip today of Dale Weise in his Rangers debut landing a big hit and then acquitting himself well in the subsequent scrap with Carcillo.

He's a perfect example of the type of player the Caps need to draft more of to round out their checking lines. He's big and strong, skates well, and at worst is a solid defensive player with some upside to pot some goals. He almost made the team out of camp and it was a matter of time before he got recalled. The Rangers have these kinds of players coming out of their wazoo. You'll be hardpressed to find any checking line depth in the Caps org - minors or the juniors. Closest you get is Pinner and maybe Bruess, and even Pinner isn't quite as strong as a kid like Weise is.

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 18, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

@Diz: Neither does DirecTV apparently.

Posted by: eorr53 | December 18, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

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