Three things to look for as the Bruins take on the Capitals in Washington tonight (7:30, NESN):
No Backstrom for Game 4?
As the final horn sounded in Game 3, Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom approached Bruins forward Rich Peverley, raised his stick, and cross-checked him in the face. Backstrom received a match penalty, meaning that he would automatically be suspended for the next game, pending league review. Well the league spoke, and the suspension was upheld. That means the Caps, down 2-1 in the series, will be without their fifth-highest regular season points leader and one of the top performers this series. The B's are in the driver's seat, while the Caps are undermanned. If they "capitalize" on the situation, they'll be up 3-1 in the series heading back to Boston.
Top lines not producing
What do Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and Tyler Seguin all have in common, aside from playing on the top two lines? None of them have registered a single point through the first three games of the series. One goal from Rich Peverley and one assist from Patrice Bergeron are the only two points the top two forward lines have mustered up. Sure, Lucic and Marchand brought some much needed emotion to Game 3, but they'll need to break through at some point. The Bruins have been lucky to win two games with little production at the top -- but it'll only last so long.
Chiarelli does it again
Last season, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli brought on Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley before the trade deadline. Those two players came up huge in the Bruins' run for the Cup, totaling 13 and 12 points, respectively. This postseason, those two players have again started off strong, both scoring a goal, while Kelly has tacked on two assists. But they aren't the only midseason acquisitions contributing in the 2011-12 postseason. Brian Rolston and Greg Zanon were both acquired at the deadline this season, and wasted no time contributing this spring. Already, a rejuvenated Rolston has a goal and two assists, and Zanon has one assist.