Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gameday: at Boston, Apr. 12: Round One, Game One

And so it begins...
The Washington Capitals are in Boston, Massachusetts, this evening to take on the Bruins in game one of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.  The Capitals, who won their last game 4-1 over the Rangers in New York, finished the year 6-2-2 over their final ten games 42-32-8 for 92 standings points. They missed winning their fifth consecutive Southeast Division by two points, but nevertheless finished seventh in the Conference.  The Bruins won their last game against the Sabres in a shootout, and closed the year on a 7-2-1 run; they were 49-29-4 overall for 102 points.  That was good enough for their second consecutive Northeast Division crown and the second overall seed in the Eastern Conference.  The Capitals somehow managed to win three of the four games they played against Boston this season, taking the season series.

Tim Thomas will start in goal for Claude Juilen's men, to absolutely nobody's surprise.  The reigning Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy winner was 35-19-1 this past regular season with a 2.36 GAA, .920 save percentage, and five shutouts.  He was 1-1-1 against the Caps this year, allowing seven goals in three games.  Outside the crease, the Bruins have two concussion injuries: winger Nathan Horton, who is not expected back this year, and center Marc Savard, who has missed most of the last two seasons because of his head injury. Defenseman Adam McQuaid will also be absent because of a head/eye injury that he suffered when Jason Chimera charged him two weeks ago in Boston.

Dale Hunter has been forced to roll with third string goalie Braden Holtby for game one because of injuries to both Michal Neuvirth and Tomas Vokoun.  Holtby, who has never played a minute in the postseason at the NHL level, finished the year 4-2-1 for the Capitals with a 2.50 GAA, .922 save percentage, and one shutout; he has faced the Bruins once in his career and picked up a win against them with a relief appearance last year.  On the injury front, defenseman John Erskine will not play because of a lower body injury.  In terms of lineup, look for Jeff Schultz to return with Dennis Wideman at even strength, pushing Dmitry Orlov to the press box.  Also, expect Cody Eakin, Jeff Halpern, Mike Knuble, and Mattias Sjogren to be healthy scratches, meaning that Keith Aucoin, Joel Ward, and Mathieu Perreault will match up with Boston's big, physical fourth line.

Puck drops 7:40-ish.  As always, follow me on Twitter here for news and updates.

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