The Capitals will determine their playoff future on Sunday in the round robin finale against the Boston Bruins (12 p.m., NBC Sports Washington Plus).
Be sure to catch all the coverage on NBC Sports Washington Plus starting with Caps Pregame Live at 11 a.m. followed by the game at 12 p.m. Stick with NBC Sports Washington Plus after the game for Caps Postgame Live.
Here is everything you need to know for Caps-Bruins.
What's at stake
Sunday's game will determine who finishes third and fourth in the round robin. If the Caps win in any fashion, they will finish third in the round robin standings and play the New York Islanders in the first round of the playoffs. A loss in any fashion and Washington will finish fourth and play the Carolina Hurricanes.
Neither the Caps nor Bruins have managed a win yet in the round robin. Washington has a point after a shootout loss to Tampa Bay while Boston has zero with two regulation losses.
When last we met
This is a team the Caps typically play well against and that was true in the regular season as Washington went 2-1-0 against Boston, but the last game they played was a 7-3 loss on Dec. 23. That game was the start of Washington's downward spiral through the rest of the regular season. From there, the Bruins went on to dominate the league and finish as the Presidents' Trophy winners with the top record. Washington barely went .500 until the season was paused.
Lineup question marks
Head coach Todd Reirden did not provide any update on defenseman John Carlson on Friday other than to say he practiced. His status for Sunday's game is uncertain. As of Friday, Lars Eller was still in Washington with his family for the birth of his second child so he will not be available on Sunday. Nicklas Backstrom did not practice on Friday. Reirden did not specify why.
"I can't say much about Nick's situation," Reirden said. "We'll see how he is tomorrow and then as we get closer to Sunday."
As if that wasn't enough, Evgeny Kuznetsov did not play again in Thursday's game after Philadelphia's third goal. Reirden benched him after only three shifts in the third.
All of this means that we really have no idea what the lineup is going to look like at all on Sunday.
Holtby in net
What the lineup in front of the net will look like is anyone's guess at this point, but we do at least know who the goalie will be.
"At this point, we're going to go with Braden Holtby," Reirden said. "I think that this best prepares him for Round 1, Game 1 is getting more in-game action after discussion with him and how he's been feeling and continue to have him building his game for the playoffs. Obviously things can change, but that's where we're headed today."
Vitek Vanecek has been the backup, but he has no NHL experience so there was some speculation as to whether the team would try to get Vanecek some time during the round robin. Reirden, however, is focused on preparing for the playoffs in the wake of Thursday's loss which was a definite step back for the team in terms of its performance.
Stay connected to the Capitals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS:
Penguins are Out! Could get No. 1 pick
Struggling: Flyers dominate Caps again
Oshie: Don't need a letter to lead
Caps to determine their playoff future in round robin finale against Boston originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington