The Capitals continue their three-game homestand on Tuesday night when the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town. The Caps come into the game riding a two-game winning streak, looking to continue their momentum. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM.
The Maple Leafs are coming off an exciting 5-4 overtime win over the Red Wings in the Centennial Classic, before a crowd of 40,148 at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto on Sunday. Auston Matthews scored 1:20 into the extra session after Detroit tied the game with 11 seconds left in regulation.
The Maple Leafs carry a 17-12-7 record with 41 points, putting them fourth in the Wild Card chase, and fourth place in the Atlantic Division. Matthews leads the team in goals (20) and points (32). Mitch Marner leads in assists with 18.
Frederik Anderson is expected to start in goal for the Maple Leafs. He carries a 16-8-6 record with a 2.95 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.
There are five Maple Leafs battling injuries. Nathan Horton has been dealing with a degenerative spine issue, while Joffrey Lupul was deemed unfit to play before the season started. Stephane Robidas continues to deal with a knee injury that sidelined him all of last year. In December, Martin Marincin was placed on injured reserve with a lower body injury, while Ben Smith opted to have surgery on his hand and has been placed on injured reserve. Marincin’s injury will likely require four to six weeks of recovery.
The Leafs are tied for second in the league with 33.8 shots per game. However, they were outshot by the Red Wings on Sunday 37-28. The Leafs are 28th in shots allowed per game with 32.8.
The Leafs are 12th in the league in the power play with a 19.6% conversion rate. On the penalty kill, Toronto is ranked sixth with an 85.2% success rate, for a combined special teams index of 104.8.
The Capitals are coming off a 2-1 win over the Senators on New Years Day. Karl Alzner and Taylor Chorney provided the tallies.
Alex Ovechkin leads the team in scoring with 17 goals. Nicklas Backstrom leads in assists and points with 21 and 30 respectively. Expect to see Braden Holtby get the start in goal for Washington. He carries a 16-8-4 record, a 1.98 GAA and a .929 save percentage.
The Capitals are ranked 18th in the league in the power play with a 16.7% conversion rate. The power play percentage has been in steady decline since game 30 versus Montreal (December 17th).
Thanks to killing off 29 straight power plays, the Capitals penalty kill leapfrogged to second in the league in the PK with a staggering 87.3% success rate.
The combined special teams index has also climbed to 104, the highest index value for the season.
The Capitals are ninth in the league in shots per game with 30.6 but have outshot their opponents over the last three games 98-74. The Caps are yielding the sixth fewest shots per game with an average of 28 per game.
The Capitals are tied for first in the NHL in goals-against per game (2.06) and second in five-on-five goals against (48).
METROPOLITAN DIVISION STANDINGS
Tuesday is the second of three games between the Capitals and Maple Leafs this season. The Leafs won the first meeting on Nov. 26 in Toronto 4-2. The third and final meeting will take place on April 4th in Toronto. The Caps carry a 69-54-10-6 all-time record vs. the Maple Leafs and a 44-21-4-2 record at home when against Toronto.
- Nicklas Backstrom sits two assists shy of 500 career assists.
- Alex Ovechkin is six points shy of 1,000 career points.
Game Notes vs. Toronto, 1/3/17
By Michael Marzzacco