(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals will try to win four straight for the first time since early November when they visit the Boston Bruins for Saturday's matinee at TD Garden.
The Capitals won their last two games prior to the NHL's Olympic break and returned from the layoff to post a 5-4 victory at Florida on Thursday. It was the fourth win in five games for Washington, which is three points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Another victory on Saturday would allow the Caps to match their longest winning streak of the season. Washington won four straight from Nov. 1-7 and is currently on its third three-game winning streak since that hot stretch early in the season.
Alex Ovechkin's goal with 4:17 remaining snapped a tie game and lifted the Capitals to the 5-4 victory over the Panthers on Thursday. It was Ovechkin's league-leading 41st goal of the season and also his eighth game-winner. Only Anaheim's Corey Perry has more game-winning goals than Ovechkin this season with nine.
Ovechkin added a pair of assists in addition to his GWG, while Troy Brouwer netted two power-play goals to help the Capitals win three straight for the first time since Dec. 7-10.
Brooks Laich also had a goal and two helpers, with Nicklas Backstrom scoring once and assisting on another to support a 30-save effort from Braden Holtby.
"We figured out a way to win," Washington head coach Adam Oates said. "Some good moments, some sloppy, but hey, it's a win."
The victory improved Washington to 11-13-5 as the road team this season. After today's away tilt, the Caps are set to return home to host Philadelphia on Sunday in the opener of a home-and-home series.
While the Caps hope to keep their winning streak alive on Saturday afternoon, Boston will aim to rebound from a loss. The Atlantic Division leaders returned from the Olympics to face Buffalo on Wednesday and dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to the hosting Sabres.
After Buffalo's Matt Moulson sent the game into overtime by scoring with 53 seconds left in regulation, Matt D'Agostini won it for the Sabres by tallying just 22 seconds into the extra session. D'Agostini outraced Zdeno Chara to a loose puck before putting a backhander past Chad Johnson.
Milan Lucic had a goal and an assist for the Bruins. Chris Kelly, Chara and Brad Marchand also scored, while Johnson turned aside 21-of-26 shots in defeat.
"Yeah, I thought offensively, I didn't mind our game," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I thought we moved the puck well, and we had some good offensive zone time and we scored four goals. We should win those kinds of games, but certainly we were definitely rusty defensively."
The Bruins will have No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask back in the fold Saturday after he failed to make the trip to Buffalo on Wednesday. Rask helped Team Finland win a bronze at the Sochi Games and was given the extra time off to recover from his busy Olympic break.
With Boston also playing a road game against the New York Rangers on Sunday, Rask and Johnson could split the starts over the next two days.
Saturday's test marks the first of three meetings this season between the Bruins and Capitals. Washington has won four of the last five meetings in the regular season, but Boston is 3-1-1 in the past five encounters at TD Garden.
The Bruins are playing three of their next four games on home ice and boast a 23-6-2 record in Beantown this season.