A pair of playoff combatants from last spring will meet for the first time in 2013, as the Washington Capitals welcome the Boston Bruins for Tuesday's battle at Verizon Center.
The Bruins were the Eastern Conference's second seed in the 2012 playoffs, but wound up losing to the seventh-seeded Capitals in the opening round. Washington won the postseason series in seven games, as Joel Ward provided the overtime game-winner in the decisive contest.
Washington also has been the better club in the recent regular-season series, winning two straight and four of the last six encounters. Boston has won three of the past five regular-season meetings in Washington and also claimed two of three in D.C. during last year's playoff series.
Boston enters this postseason rematch coming off a loss as the club's six-game winning streak came to end Sunday against visiting Montreal. The 4-3 regulation setback allowed the Canadiens to pull two points ahead of the Bruins for first place in the Northeast Division.
The B's led Montreal 3-2 after 40 minutes but Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais scored the only goals of the third period to lift the Canadiens to the close victory at TD Garden.
Patrice Bergeron finished with a goal and two helpers for the Bruins, who suffered just their third regulation loss of the season, dropping to 14-3-2 on the year.
Tyler Seguin added a goal and Brad Marchand recorded three assists, but Tuukka Rask allowed four scores on 26 shots in defeat.
Boston is playing three of its next five games on the road and is 8-1-1 as the guest so far in 2013.
The Caps have won three of their last four games and are coming off Saturday's shutout victory in Winnipeg. Braden Holtby stopped all 35 shots he faced to help lead the way in a 3-0 triumph at MTS Centre.
Mike Ribeiro tallied a goal and an assist to help the Capitals, who are still tied for last in the Eastern Conference with Florida despite playing better of late. Matt Hendricks and Troy Brouwer also notched goals in Saturday's triumph.
After mustering just five shots on net in a scoreless opening period, Washington fired 13 shots on goal in the second stanza en route to grabbing a 1-0 advantage on Hendricks' fourth marker of the season.
"In the second period we started to take it over, I thought," said Capitals head coach Adam Oates. "I thought we really had a good second and after that you feel good about yourself."
Washington had just three shots on goal in the third period, but two of them got past Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.
The Capitals have played four straight games without defenseman Mike Green and he is expected to miss Tuesday's contest with his groin injury.
Washington is 5-5-0 as the host this year and is playing the first of two straight on home ice. The Caps will complete the brief homestand Thursday night against Florida.