Bruins head to Washington in search of 4th straight win

WASHINGTON — The Boston Bruins will go for their fourth straight win when they travel to Washington to face the league-leading Capitals on Wednesday night.

Both teams began post All-Star break play Tuesday night with visiting Boston winning the first of its back-to-backs, 4-3 over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Bruins got third-period goals from Zdeno Chara and Frank Vatrano to break a 2-2 tie. Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci also scored for Boston (26-21-6) as the Bruins equaled their season-high winning streak, and Tukka Rask made 18 saves.

“We seem to be finding our scoring touch. It’s been better now than it was. If other teams are getting dry, then that’s great — time for us to start scoring goals,” Bruins coach Claude Julien told the Boston Globe. “But again, we have to make sure we keep doing it — because it’s not going to get any easier.”

Boston converted 1-of-3 with the man advantage, while killing off all four Lightning power plays.

The Bruins boast the league’s second-best penalty kill, while the Capitals rank fourth.

“Our power play has been much better of late, our penalty kill again does a great job tonight against a pretty powerful power play,” Julien said. “Special teams played a big role in tonight’s win.”

Bergeron has 10 goals and 24 assists in 39 games against the Capitals.

Washington (33-11-6) lost for the second time in three games when they dropped a 3-2 decision to the New York Islanders in Brooklyn.

Evgeny Kuznetsov gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 4:41 into the game, but Washington didn’t light the lamp again until Alex Ovechkin’s goal with 46.5 seconds left. Philipp Grubauer made 26 saves.

“I wouldn’t categorize that as a crisp game for either team,” the Capitals Daniel Winnik told the Washington Post.

The Islanders took a 2-1 lead after Jay Beagle turned the puck over behind the Capitals net and it resulted in Ryan Strome’s goal at 6:32 of the third period.

“It was going to be one mistake, (and) we made a mistake in our own end and turned the puck over, and they right away capitalize on it,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz told NHL.com.

Despite the recent losses, Washington leads the NHL in points and is 20-4-3 in its last 27 games. The Capitals have taken at least a point in 14 of 16 games (13-2-2).

Washington has scored 98 goals in 27 games (an average of 3.63 per game) and they’ve allowed 52 (1.92 per game).

All-Star Braden Holtby (24-8-4 with a 1.96 goals against average) starts Wednesday. He is 10-2 with a 1.69 GAA and .948 save percentage against Boston.

Ovechkin has 17 goals and 22 assists in 40 games versus Boston and Nicklas Backstrom has five goals and 26 assists in 29 games.

Kuznetsov has five goals and six assists in his last 10 games overall.

Washington defenseman John Carlson returned Tuesday after missing six games with a lower body injury.

Washington won the teams’ first meeting 4-3 at home on Dec. 7.