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It’s Hockey Night in Washington as the Toronto Maple Leafs head to the U.S. capital for a date with the… Oh. The Capitals. I actually didn’t mean to do that. Oh well. I’ll own it.
The Leafs are coming off an overtime loss last night to Detroit – a game in which Toronto looked pretty good but couldn’t beat Petr Mrazek. Tonight, they’ll be up against another talented netminder in Braden Holtby, not exactly the kind of goalie one of the league’s worst offences wants to come up against.
Here are all of your pre-game details…
With no morning skate this morning, it isn’t clear if there will be any lineup changes for the Leafs today. If there are any changes, they will be minor – Toronto has looked pretty good in recent games, even if they haven’t been able to convert that good play into goals.
If Mike Babcock does decide to shake things up a little and get some fresh legs into the lineup, he will have Peter Holland and Frank Corrado available. It would actually make a lot of sense to pull out Byron Froese and Roman Polak for a game to see where Holland’s and Corrado’s games are at. Especially Polak. That guy has not looked good.
Nicklas Backstrom is a second line centre on the Washington Capitals, so it goes without saying that this is one of the most potent offences in the entire league – their 3.33 GF/GP is fourth in the NHL.
On the other hand, the Leafs’ 3.08 GA/GP is 27th in the NHL. Yup. This could turn into a bloodbath tonight.
Braden Holtby is the confirmed starter for Washington, but the situation isn’t so clear for the Leafs. Jonathan Bernier will be sidelined for at least one more game, and James Reimer played just last night. Does Babcock ride Reimer one more time, or does he turn to recent call-up Antoine Bibeau for his first career NHL start? We’re listing Reimer now because he’s first on the depth chart, but we won’t know for sure who will man the Leafs’ crease until closer to game time.
What to Watch For…
- Alex Ovechkin is one goal away from tying Sergei Fedorov for most goals scored by a Russian-born player, so keep a close eye out for that and try to enjoy it if Ovie does tie (and maybe even break) Fedorov’s record. Ovechkin is a special talent – one of the best goal scorers in NHL history – and sits 50th in all-time goalscoring with 482 goals in 771 games.