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GM Peter Chiarelli wary of skilled Capitals club

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  April 8, 2012 12:59 PM

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Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has concluded a conference call regarding the opening of the playoffs. The Bruins will face off against Washington, with the series most likely starting Thursday at TD Garden.

“The record shows we haven’t played as well against Washington,” said Chiarelli, whose team went 1-2-1 against the Capitals in the regular season. “For that reason, it will be a tough opponent.”

Washington’s top guns are Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, and Nicklas Backstrom. The Capitals have secondary grit in Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer, Jason Chimera, and Matt Hendricks.

On the back end, Karl Alzner and John Carlson are young defensemen that complement each other’s strengths. Old friend Dennis Wideman will log big minutes in all situations.

“We have to shut down their skill between Ovechkin, Semin, and Backstrom,” said Chiarelli. “They’ve got good skill on the back end. They’re a high-end, skilled team. It’s really important that we play the gaps tight in all three zones with these guys. We can do that.”

The question mark is in goal. Tomas Vokoun (groin) and Michal Neuvirth (leg) are on the shelf. Braden Holtby, Washington’s third-string goalie, has been carrying the load.

“If it’s the goalie that’s been playing, Braden Holtby is a good, young goalie,” Chiarelli said. “He’s just inexperienced. We have to get traffic and pucks there.”

* Chiarelli said Johnny Boychuk (knee) and Adam McQuaid (head) are day-to-day. Chiarelli said Tuukka Rask (abdomen/groin) is not day-to-day but progressing on schedule. If Rask is unavailable to start the series, Anton Khudobin will back up Tim Thomas. Marty Turco will not practice with the team.

* Chiarelli termed Nathan Horton a long shot to play again this year.

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