A win at home over the best team in the Western Conference should do wonders for a Boston Bruins club that has struggled on its own ice this season.
There's no telling how high their confidence would go with another home win - this time against the best team in the league.
With coach Claude Julien on the verge of history, the Bruins seek a third straight victory at TD Garden on Saturday night when they face the Washington Capitals.
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Boston (36-23-6) is battling Tampa Bay and Florida for the top spot in the Atlantic Division despite a disappointing 15-16-3 home record. The Bruins probably won't mind starting a stretch of 10 of 13 on the road Monday against the Panthers, but first up is a meeting with the Capitals, who have a 16-point lead atop Metropolitan Division and almost as comfortable an advantage in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.
"We all know that (Saturday) night's going to be a game against one of the best teams in the league and we have to be ready for them," Boston captain Zdeno Chara told the team's official website.
After starting their four-game homestand with a loss to the Lightning, the Bruins rebounded with a win over Calgary before beating Chicago 4-2 on Thursday in perhaps their most impressive victory of the season. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each had a goal and an assist to give Boston consecutive home wins for the first time since Dec. 16 and 20.
''There were a lot of reasons to get excited about this game tonight and it showed in our play," Julien said.
The win was Julien's 387th with Boston, tying Art Ross for the most in franchise history.
"The fact that I've avoided being fired for the last nine years helped (me) get that many wins here," Julien said. "So I just feel fortunate, and most of all, I feel humbled by that achievement."
Marchand's two-point performance continued a stellar stretch for the forward. He leads all players with 18 goals and 24 points in 23 games since Jan. 15. Marchand, though, has just one point in his last nine games against the Capitals (47-13-4).
Tuukka Rask figures to be back in net for Boston after going 5-1-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average in his last six games. Rask, though, has a 3.05 GAA during a five-start losing streak versus Washington.
On the opposite end of that streak is Braden Holtby, who has been in net for all five of those wins with three shutouts and a .979 save percentage.
Holtby, however, could be rested after he made 20 saves in a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Friday, Washington's ninth straight one-goal game.
Backup Philipp Grubauer has stopped 66 of 69 shots in winning his last two starts.
The defeat was the third in six games for the Capitals, who have yet to lose two in a row in regulation this season. They gave up the first goal for the ninth time in 11 games.
''If we would've had a better start, who knows how that game would've wound up?'' said T.J. Oshie, who scored the tying goal late in the second period.
Nicklas Backstrom has six assists in his last five games overall, and eight during a five-game point streak against Boston.