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Caps head to Boston seeking another win over Bruins

(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will return to Boston for the first time since winning a thrilling Game 7 last spring, as the Bruins host Saturday's matinee at TD Garden.

The seventh-seeded Capitals shocked the No. 2 Bruins in the opening round of the 2012 playoffs and won a Game 7 overtime contest in Boston thanks to Joel Ward's series-clinching tally. The loss, which came on April 25, also ended the Bruins' chances of defending their 2011 Stanley Cup title.

This is the second meeting between the clubs since last April, as the Capitals hosted Boston earlier this month and defeated the Bruins in comeback fashion. Despite falling behind 3-0 in the first period, Washington charged back for a 4-3 overtime decision at Verizon Center. The Caps scored twice in the second and Wojtek Wolski evened things in the third before Eric Fehr delivered the game-winner just 37 seconds in OT.

Braden Holtby stopped 30-of-33 shots to help the Caps record their third straight win in the regular-season series. Washington also has won two straight and five of its past seven in Beantown, not including the 3-1 mark at TD Garden during last spring's postseason encounter.

The Capitals enter Saturday's meeting after beating Carolina on Thursday to end a three-game slide. The 3-2 road triumph was the fourth win in seven games for Washington.

Mike Ribeiro scored the go-ahead goal with 2:16 remaining to help the Capitals earn a split in the home-and-home series. Washington was shut out 4-0 in its home portion of the series on Tuesday.

Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist for the Capitals on Thursday and Joey Crabb also lit the lamp in the win. Michal Neuvirth made 36 saves for Washington to improve to 2-4-1 on the season.

"It shows character," says Caps coach Adam Oates of the win. "Good for them."

With the game tied and time winding down in regulation, Ovechkin came off the bench and took a pass from John Carlson before skating in on a breakaway and hitting the post. The puck was sitting on the goal line for Ribeiro, who guided it into the back of the net.

Even with Thursday's win in Raleigh, the Caps are just 4-7-1 as the visiting team this season. Eight of Washington's next 10 games are on the road.

Washington forward Brooks Laich is nearing a return to the ice after missing the entire season so far with a groin problem. Laich, who had 16 goals and 25 assists in 82 games for the Caps last season, has been skating with the team and could make his season debut on Saturday.

The Bruins, meanwhile, have won four of five games since losing at Washington earlier this month.

Boston was dealt just its fourth regulation loss of the season Tuesday at Pittsburgh, but rebounded with Thursday's win against visiting Florida. Patrice Bergeron scored two goals and the Bruins coasted to a 4-1 win over the Panthers at TD Garden.

Tuukka Rask made 29 saves for the Bruins and Zdeno Chara and Shawn Thornton added goals.

"From start to finish it wasn't pretty, but you know you grind out those wins," said Claude Julien who won his 246th game as Boston's head coach, moving him past Milt Schmidt for second place on the franchise's all-time list.

Art Ross has Boston's record for coaching victories with 361.

The win also helped Boston pull within one point of Montreal for first place in the Northeast Division. The Canadiens play Saturday evening against New Jersey.

Boston has won three straight on home ice and is 9-2-1 as the host this season.

03/16 08:19:48 ET