|And so it begins...|
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.