The Washington Capitals have had their troubles this season, but still sit near the top of the Eastern Conference standings with an 8-4-0 record. Half of those losses have come by the hands of the Boston Bruins, who will invade Verizon Center Friday night for the third of four meetings between the teams this season.
The Capitals and Bruins met in a home-and-home series two weeks ago and Boston took both games in decisive fashion, winning 3-1 October 19 and 4-1 October 21. The Capitals fired 75 shots on Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas in those two games and only scored twice. The 2008 Vezina Trophy Winner has returned to his award-winning form so far this season, going 7-0-0 and leading all NHL goalies with a .977 save percentage, a .72 goals-against average and three shutouts. Thomas has given up only five goals in his seven starts.
Washington will attempt to solve Thomas after finding its scoring touch in the past few games. Since the last time these two teams met, the Caps are 4-1-0 and outscoring their opponents 20-11. In a dangerous turn of events for opposing teams, the Capitals' once-unstoppable power play has returned with a 62% success rate in the last two games. Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom have retrieved their respective scoring touches as well; they have combined for 14 points (5 goals - 9 assists) in the past two games.
Thomas is not the only impressive goalie playing Friday. Washington's Michal Neuvirth was recently named the NHL Rookie of the Month for October. Neuvirth's eight wins leads the NHL.