WASHINGTON — The NHL’s two hottest sticks, David Pastrnak and Alex Ovechkin, trade shots here Wednesday night when the Bruins face off against the Capitals (Capital One Arena, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Network).
Pastrnak, in a four-game goal-scoring dip, leads the NHL with 25 goals. Ovechkin, the greatest scorer of his era (eight times with 50 goals or more), is second with 21. His next strike will be No. 680 on his résumé. He is closing in on Teemu Selanne (684) for the No. 11 spot on the league’s all-time list.
North Chelmsford’s Jack Eichel (20) moved to No. 3 this season when he picked up two more Tuesday night in the Sabres’ impressive win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues.
Boston coach Bruce Cassidy, when asked following Tuesday’s workout to compare Pastrnak (career total: 157) and Ovechkin, noted that Ovechkin is more of a tried-and-true shooter while Pastrnak is still building more playmaking into his game.
“Pasta’s developed his shot now to the point where he will use it more often,” noted Cassidy, his 20-5-6 Bruins second only to the 22-5-5 Capitals in the league’s overall standings. “I think Pasta still will use more one-on-one moves than maybe Ovie. That could have been Ovie 10 years ago, as well, and now he’s kind of settled in on what works for him.
“But Pasta still has a lot of that creative juice in him, still wants to try those, and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.”
The NHL’s goal-scoring list on Wednesday morning counted three Americans, including Eichel, in the top 10. The others: Auston Matthews (19, Toronto) and Jack Guentzel (17, Pittsburgh).
Last season, three Americans finished among the top 10: Patrick Kane, 44 (Chicago), Cam Atkinson, 41 (Columbus), and Alex DeBrincat, 41 (Chicago). As of Wednesday morning, that trio had a total of 29 goals.
■ After winning a season-high eight in a row, the Bruins have hiccupped over their last three (0-2-1), a dip only slightly worse than their 1-2-3 slide prior to that eight-game run. They also scored a total of only three goals in their losses to the Avalanche (5-1) and Senators (5-2), their lowest back-to-back production since their two season-opening wins (2-1 over Dallas and 1-0 over Arizona).
■ Boston’s once-dominating power play has powered down over the last seven games, going 2 for 20. Duly noted: No. 1 bumper Patrice Bergeron was absent for the first six of those games. “I thought we had enough good looks [in Ottawa] to score at least a couple of goals — we got one,” noted Cassidy.
Two points to sharpen, according to Cassidy: quicker puck movement and finish around the net.
“When I hear good things about our power play from other people,” mused Cassidy, “it’s typically about how quick the puck moves.”
Headed into the faceoff here, the Bruins PP stood No. 3 in the league at 28.0 percent efficiency (behind Edmonton and Tampa), and the Capitals were T5 (23.7 percent).