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Two Weeks And 9,000 Miles Later, Bruins Ready For 2010 Home Opener

(Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins will aim for a fourth straight win and a home-and-home sweep of the Washington Capitals when they host tonight's game at TD Garden.

Tonight's contest is actually the home opener for Boston, which began its regular season with a pair of games in the Czech Republic against the Phoenix Coyotes. The Bruins have played two games since returning to North America, posting a victory in New Jersey on Saturday before notching a win over the Capitals Tuesday in the nation's capital.

Tim Thomas stopped 35-of-36 shots and Milan Lucic added a goal and one assist as Boston downed Washington, 3-1, at Verizon Center. David Krejci posted a goal and a helper and Matt Hunwick also tallied for the Bruins.

"We have a pretty good balance in all of our lines. What we have seems to be working," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said.

Thomas has started the last three games for Boston and is 3-0 with an amazing 0.67 goals-against average and .979 save percentage. The former Vezina Trophy winner could get the start over Tuukka Rask again tonight. Rask won the starting job from Thomas last season, but hasn't played since losing Boston's season-opener to Phoenix on Oct. 9.

This evening's test starts a three-game homestand for the Bruins, who were 18-17-6 as the host in 2009-10. Boston will face the New York Rangers on Friday before closing the residency next Thursday against Toronto.

The Capitals, meanwhile, will try to get back in the win column after having their four-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday. The loss to the Bruins was Washington's first setback since dropping its season-opener on the road to Atlanta.

Marcus Johansson notched his first NHL goal in the recent setback for the Bruins. Michal Neuvirth took the loss, although he was pulled after playing nearly 13 minutes and allowing two goals on seven shots. Semyon Varlamov yielded one score on 14 shots the rest of the way.

"We did a lot of good things except convert. ... When [the Bruins] get a lead they are tough to beat," Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Varlamov, who was sidelined with a groin injury to begin the year, is expected to get his first start of the season tonight as Neuvirth is questionable for the game with flu-like symptoms.

Caps centerman Boyd Gordon is questionable tonight with an undisclosed injury, while defenseman Mike Green is expected to miss his third straight game with a stinger.

Boston has won two straight against the Capitals after dropping the previous four encounters. Washington has still taken seven of 10 overall from the Bruins and has won the last three meetings in Beantown.