By Sky Kerstein

The Washington Capitals, down two-to-one in the series to the Boston Bruins, play host to the Bruins tonight in game four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals for a 7:30 face-off.

“We have to play hard tonight and battle and good things will happen,”  Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said.

Caps defenseman Karl Alzner called tonight’s game “pivotal” as the series shifts to Boston for game five on Sunday and with two of the next three games in Boston following tonight, tonight is as close to a must-win as it get’s for the Capitals.

“It’s an important game for us and you’re going to see, I think, a lot of desperation,”  Alzner said.

Nicklas Backstrom will serve his one-game suspension tonight for a match penalty at the end of game three.

Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin took their options and didn’t take part in the morning skate today.  The Caps lines could look like this tonight: Ovechkin-Laich-Brouwer, Chimera-Perreault-Semin, Hendricks-Beagle-Brouwer, Knuble-Aucoin-Ward, Alzner-Carlson, Hamrlik-Green, Erskine-Wideman.

Erskine is likely back in the line-up for the first time since February 12th.

Braden Holtby (1-2, 1.77 GAA, .942 Save pct.) will make his fourth career NHL playoff start in goal tonight.  Tim Thomas (2-1, 1.47 GAA, .943 Save pct.) will start tonight for the Boston Bruins.

The Caps scratches tonight will be: Backstrom (suspension), Halpern, Sjogren, Orlov, Schultz.

Michal Neuvirth took shots from the scratches following the morning skate.  He’s still “day-to-day”.

“He’s getting better,”  Hunter said.

Hunter added that Neuvirth isn’t available to back up tonight.

Earlier today, the Capitals assigned forward Cody Eakin back to the AHL Hershey Bears as the Bears prepare to start their playoffs this weekend.

Listen here to what Dale Hunter, Karl Alzner, John Erskine & Mike Knuble had to say following the morning skate today.

Dale Hunter Morning Skate Audio

Karl Alzner Morning Skate Audio

John Erskine Morning Skate Audio

Mike Knuble Morning Skate Audio


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