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Bruins expecting a 'great game' tonight

WASHINGTON -- Since Boston's 4-3 victory in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Washington Capitals, the focus has been on the Bruins’ physical play.

Expect more of that in Game 4 on Thursday night at Verizon Center.

“It’s been the identity of this team,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “That’s the way the playoffs are and everybody is picking up their physical play.”

Prior to scoring four goal in Game 3, Boston had only scored a total of two goals in the first two games of this series. Along with the physical aspect of the game, the Bruins need an upgrade in offensive production.

“We need to score goals to win hockey games,” Chara said. “We were a little better in that area last game, but we need to continue to do that.”

The Capitals will be without the services of top forward Nicklas Backstrom, who was suspended for one game after his match penalty for a cross check to the face of Bruins forward Rich Peverley after the final buzzer in Game 3 on Monday.

Despite Backstrom’s absence, the Bruins aren’t planning on changing their game plan.

“Everybody knows he’s a great player,” Chara said. “We just have to focus on what we do and be ready to play.”

The Bruins held their game-day skate at Verizon Center on Thursday morning and there was a relaxed feeling in the locker room afterwards.

“We’re expecting a great game tonight,” said Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron.