|Date of game: 3/6/2014
Washington Capitals (29-24-10) at Boston Bruins (39-17-5), 7 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins will aim for a third straight victory when they host the new-look Washington Capitals in Thursday's battle at TD Garden.
The Bruins, who hold a six-point edge over Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division, dropped their first two games following the Olympic break before notching recent wins over the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers.
After slamming the Rangers by a 6-3 score in New York on Sunday, the Bruins rode a David Krejci hat trick to Tuesday's 4-1 victory over the visiting Florida Panthers. It was the third career hat trick for Krejci, who now has 16 goals on the season.
"As long as I contribute to the team and my linemates I don't care about how many goals I score," said Krejci. "When we won the Stanley Cup I only had 13 goals that year."
Jarome Iginla had the other goal for the Bruins. Chad Johnson stopped 23 shots in the win.
Boston added a couple of pieces to their blue line prior to Wednesday's trade deadline, picking up offensive defenseman Andrej Meszaros from the Philadelphia Flyers for a conditional third-round pick in 2015 and claiming rearguard Corey Potter off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers.
"We acquired these two players for depth, we have a core and this is bolstering that core," said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli upon Wednesday's announcement.
Meszaros, who alternated time as a healthy scratch and offensive force for the Flyers this season, had five goals and 17 points in just 38 games for Philly. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
Potter had five assists in 16 games with Edmonton this season.
While Boston added Meszaros and Potter on Wednesday, the Capitals made a flurry of deals in the last two days before the NHL's trade deadline.
On Tuesday, Washington acquired veteran forward Dustin Penner from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Later, the Caps picked up forward Chris Brown, defenseman Rostislav Klesla and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for forwards Martin Erat and John Mitchell.
Klesla, however, was flipped on Wednesday to help the Capitals acquire goaltender Jaroslav Halak from the Buffalo Sabres. The Caps sent Klesla and netminder Michal Neuvirth to the Sabres for Halak and a third-round pick in 2015.
Halak was traded twice in a span of days, moving from St. Louis to Buffalo on Friday in the deal that moved former Sabres goaltender to the Blues. The 28- year-old Halak did not play with Buffalo, but he was 24-9-4 with a .917 save percentage and 2.23 goals-against average in 40 games with the Blues this season.
Halak could make his Capitals debut tonight. He is 8-3-0 with a 1.86 goals against average and .942 save percentage in 11 career games against the Bruins.
The Caps, who are one point out of the final wild card playoff spot in the East, had won four in a row before getting swept in a recent home-and-home series against Philadelphia. Washington dropped a 5-4 overtime decision in D.C. on Sunday and then lost 6-4 in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
Washington was down 4-0 in Wednesday's game, but rallied to make it a one-goal game on two occasions in the third period. Still, the club's poor start to the contest proved too much to overcome.
"Real disappointing," Caps forward Joel Ward said of Washington's start to the game. "I don't know what to say on the start, just a couple of mistakes that we made obviously and they gained some momentum from it."
Alex Ovechkin collected a goal and an assist, while Troy Brouwer and Ward also lit the lamp for the Capitals. Braden Holtby allowed four goals on 18 shots before being removed midway through the second period. Philipp Grubauer stopped 10-of-11 shots in relief.
Penner made his Washington debut and registered one shot on net in 16 minutes, 50 seconds of ice time.
Washington recorded a 4-2 win in Boston on March 1 to take the first of three scheduled meetings between the clubs. The Capitals have won two straight and five of the last six encounters in this series overall and the Bruins have lost three of their last four at home against Washington.