NHL on NBCSN: Bruins, Capitals will break Wild Card tie tonight

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Washington Capitals host the Boston Bruins at the Verizon Center at 7:30 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

It wasn’t too long ago that Boston’s playoff position looked vulnerable, but after five straight victories, the Bruins have not only managed to stay six points ahead of the similarly streaking Florida Panthers, but also catch up to the Washington Capitals in the fight for the first Wild Card spot.

“I think we believe in ourselves right now,” said Patrice Bergeron, per the team’s website. “Since the trade deadline, I think it put a lot of guys at ease, kind of realizing that this is our team. The management — from up to Peter [Chiarelli] to Cam [Neely] and everyone down — they all believe in us, and we have to show them that we can do it.

“It’s about doing it every night. Right now, we all need to be leaders and step up and play big.”

Both Washington and Boston have 82 points this season and are equal when it comes to regulation plus overtime wins (33), but the Bruins have a slim edge right now given that they’ve played in one less game. Regardless, the occupant of the first Wild Card seed Monday morning will be the winner of this contest.

In addition to the obvious positioning advantage that would come with a victory tonight, Washington could also use the confidence boost that comes with winning. It has lost three of its last four games and attracted the ire of Capitals coach Barry Trotz.

“Right now we have too many passengers,” Trotz told CSN Washington. “You can’t carry a guy on your back. This league is way too good. If there’s a guy next to you not pulling his weight you can’t carry him. You either get rid of him or give him a shake and tell him to get on the bus and start traveling in the right direction. That’s probably why [the players] had a closed-door meeting, because I told them to fix it.”

The Capitals realize their game has slipped lately and they’re position has been compromised as a result. The silver lining for them is that their fate is still in their hands.