|9:30 AM PT10:30 AM MT11:30 AM CT12:30 PM ET17:30 GMT1:30 10:30 AM MST12:30 PM EST21:30 UAE12:30 ETNaN:� BRT, February 3, 2019
Capital One Arena, Washington, District of Columbia Attendance: 18,506
Capitals seek second-half surge, host Bruins
The Washington Capitals may have just needed a chance to catch their breath a bit. They stumbled into the All-Star break on a seven-game losing streak and having fallen out of first place in the Metro Division.
They ended that slide with a win Friday and hope to keep two streaks going when playing the visiting Boston Bruins in a Sunday matinee.
Washington started the second half of the season with a 4-3 victory over the tough Calgary Flames - tops in the Western Conference -- at home thanks to a late goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Washington needed players like Kuznetsov and others to step up as captain Alex Ovechkin was serving a one-game suspension (for not playing in All-Star Game) and Lars Eller got hurt (lower-body injury) during the game.
That's why coach Todd Reirden was so pleased after the game. The Capitals really did get help from a lot of places and looked more like themselves again.
"It was a big team effort from top to bottom," Reirden said. "I really liked the finish. We needed to refocus, reset, re-energize ourself. We were fresh, a really good bench tonight in terms of our energy, really pulling together. We were much more mentally sharp than we had been in awhile."
Reirden said Eller was to be checked again later on Friday night and there might be some news Saturday but nothing definite was known at that point.
Washington got scoring from its bottom two lines in the Calgary win - goals from Nic Dowd and Dmitrij Jaskin - plus the big goal from Kuznetsov with 57 seconds left in regulation. The Capitals need more from both areas to find second-half success.
Kuznetsov has not been as productive offensively as he was last year when he became a major force during the team's drive to the Stanley Cup. The third and fourth lines also have fallen off.
Now, the Capitals will focus on trying to win a 15th consecutive game against the Bruins.
They also have been struggling of late, and the Bruins are coming off of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. Boston twice had one-goal leads in the game but could not hang on as the Flyers rallied.
Boston now has dropped three in a row and five of its last six games. David Pastrnak scored both goals in the loss.
David Backes, in the loss to the Flyers, appeared in his 900th career game. He told his team's web site that the Bruins would love to end the long slide against Washington.
"I think we've done a good job of taking each game one at a time and being focused for what's in front of us going into Washington for an afternoon game," Backes said. "What an opportunity to exorcise some demons and get a win, get back on track, beat a team that we're due to beat and squash all those things at once. Take care of business first, and then be able to watch our home team in the Super Bowl."
The Bruins also received some good news on the injury front as goalie Tuukka Rask returned in the Philadelphia loss. He last played Jan. 19 after getting hurt (concussion) vs. the Rangers.
Rask finished with 38 saves in the loss and now has helped the Bruins get points in eight straight games - six wins and two overtime losses -- not counting the early exit vs. the Rangers.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 2, 2019