Capitals-Bruins Preview

The Boston Bruins know there are worse positions to be in than

tied 2-2 in the first round of the playoffs.

During their Stanley Cup championship run last year, the Bruins

dug out of a 2-0 hole in the first round against Montreal, and

rallied from down 2-0 and 3-2 down in the Cup final against

Vancouver.

So the second-seeded Bruins aren’t panicking as they head into

Game 5 of their Eastern Conference series with the seventh-seeded

Washington Capitals on Saturday night.

”I think that we all know that we could be in a better

position. But at the same time, Washington has played really well

and, obviously, now it’s best of three,” Bruins captain Zdeno

Chara said after practice at TD Garden on Friday. ”So it’s a huge

game for us.

”I think that most of the guys in here, from last year, we know

that there is no room for getting too high or too low, or getting

frustrated or panicking. You just got to regroup and get mentally

and physically ready for the next game.”

Goals have been difficult to come by through the first four

games, with each team scoring seven times. In response to his

team’s offensive struggles, Bruins coach Claude Julien Friday

juggled all four of his lines in practice in an attempt to provide

a spark. Each line kept one pair of forwards intact from the end of

Game 4 and added a new winger.

Although only injuries caused him to make line changes during

the Bruins’ run to the Cup, Julien decided four games were as long

as he could wait to try and generate more scoring.

”We’re not getting the production that we’d like to, but having

said that, we’re doing a good job, we’re not playing a bad game,”

Julien said. ”We’re breaking out of our own end no problem, we’re

going through the neutral zone no problem, we’re getting pucks in

deep no problem.

”At the end of the day it’s just trying to resolve the

situation of capitalizing on our chances and that kind of stuff.

So, that’s the only area and they (Capitals) do a good job of

playing, sitting back and playing hard and capitalizing on their

opportunities. For us, it’s just a matter of finding that. So it’s

not them frustrating us more than it’s us frustrating ourselves for

not being able to a good job.”

Boston’s line changes might also make it more difficult for

Washington coach Dale Hunter to get the matchups he wants. In

addition to strong play from rookie goalie Braden Holtby, the

Capitals have played strong team defense to limit the Bruins’

biggest threats. The Bruins haven’t had one goal from any of their

top five point-getters from the regular season.

”It’s a team game. The defense, the forwards, and definitely

(Holtby) there, too … it’s a team game and we know they’re good

players,” Hunter said. ”We know what they can do. Just read the

stats this year – plus 30 or 40, whatever it is, they’re up there.

So they can score 5-on-5 as well as power play. So they’re

dangerous guys. So far the guys have been busting their tails. When

they do get the chance, (Holtby’s) been there.”

The Capitals managed to win Game 4 on Thursday night without top

center Nicklas Backstrom, suspended because of a match penalty at

the end of Game 3. Backstrom’s return should provide Washington

with a lift.

”Yeah, obviously, he’s our best forward. He makes the power

play go,” Washington defenseman Dennis Wideman said. ”He creates

a ton of offense. He makes a ton of plays that there’s not too many

guys in the league can see or do. Obviously, when he’s in the

lineup, we’re a lot better team.”

The better team in Game 5 will be the one that manages to grind

out enough goals in this tight series. The Bruins hope their new

forward alignment will allow them to head to Game 6 with a series

lead.

”I think last year … it’s different year to year. Last year

it worked out and this year, hopefully, this is going to spark

everyone and we’re going to come out flying next game and have a

great game,” Boston forward Brad Marchand said.