Wednesday Night Hockey Preview: Capitals, Maple Leafs Look To End Losing Streaks

NHL.com.jpgPhoto: NHL.com

The Washington Capitals visit the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second meeting of the season between the two teams. The Maple Leafs beat the Capitals by a score of 4-2 on October 13 at Capital One Arena, the first time these two teams met. Action from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto can be seen on NBCSN as part of “Wednesday Night Hockey” beginning at 7:30 PM Eastern. 

Capitals

-enter the game on a six-game losing streak (0-4-2), their longest since 2013-14 (seven)

-second of a back-to-back – fell to the San Jose Sharks 7-6 in overtime at Capital One Arena last night

-last game before All-Star Break/Bye Week

-Captain Alex Ovechkin, who recorded a hat trick vs. San Jose, leads the NHL with 36 goals and the Capitals with 56 points

-Defenseman John Carlson leads the team with 38 assists and has two goals and four points in his past four games

-Ovechkin decided to play against Toronto, meaning he will serve his one-game suspension for skipping All-Star Weekend in San Jose to rest after a long playoff run last season this upcoming weekend against the Calgary Flames on February 1, the game following the Capitals’ bye week

-After getting only four goals from their forwards during the first five games of their losing streak, the team got all six of their goals from forwards against the Sharks last night

-eighth in the NHL with an average of 3.37 goals-per-game

-10th in the NHL with an efficiency of 21.2% on the power-play

-Their penalty-killing efficiency of 77.7% is the ninth-worst in the NHL

-Capitals are not committing to starting goaltender vs. Toronto; Braden Holtby, who is 17-11-3 with a save percentage of .906, a goals-against average of 3.04, and two shutouts this season, is 8-4-1 with a save percentage of .928, a goals-against average of 2.20, and two shutouts in his career against Toronto. He made 24 saves in the 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs on October 13. Pheonix Copley, who is 10-5-3 with a save percentage of .903, a goals-against average of 2.98, and one shutout this season, has never started against the Maple Leafs in his career.

-Second in the Metropolitan with 60 points, three back of the New York Islanders for the top spot

-14-8-2 road record

Maple Leafs

-enter the game coming off of consecutive regulation losses and are 3-7-0 in their past 10 games

-average of 3.50 goals-per-game is tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for fourth in the NHL

-average of 2.85 goals-against per game is the 10th-lowest in the NHL

-Forward Mitch Marner leads Toronto with 42 assists and 61 points this season

-Free agent acquisition and center John Tavares leads the team with 30 goals in 48 games after scoring 37 goals in 82 games with the Islanders last season

-ninth in the NHL with a power-play efficiency of 21.5%

-10th best penalty kill in the NHL (81.7%)

-second in NHL with a faceoff-winning percentage of 52.5% only behind the Philadelphia Flyers’ faceoff-winning percentage of 56.2%

-Center Auston Matthews ranks 11th in the NHL with an average of 1.24 points-per-game; Marner is tied for eighth with an average of 1.27

-13-11-1 at home

-second in the Atlantic Division with 60 points

-last game before All-Star Break/bye-week

-Defenseman Morgan Reilly leads all NHL defensemen with 13 goals and is third with 48 points in 48 games this season

-final game of a two-game homestand after falling 4-2 to the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday

-defenseman Jake Gardiner, who missed Monday’s game vs. Arizona due to neck spasms, is questionable for tonight’s game; he was on the ice for Toronto’s morning skate on Wednesday

-forward Andreas Jonsson will miss the game after suffering a concussion vs. Arizona

-Goaltender Fredrick Andersen, who is 21-11-3 (21 wins are tied with Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebyuck for third in the NHL) with a save percentage of .922, a goals-against average of 2.54, and one shutout this season, is 4-1-1 with a save percentage of .912, a goals-against average of 2.72, and two shutouts in his career vs. the Capitals

More From Game Notes

-Forward Jakub Vrana recorded two assists against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, his fourth career two-assist game. Vrana now has 28 points (15g, 13a) in 49 games, surpassing his rookie season point total of 27, set last year, in 24 fewer games. Vrana’s 15 goals this season are tied with forward T.J. Oshie for the second most on the team. Additionally, Vrana has been on the ice for 38 goals at five-on-five this season and just 25 goals against at five-on-five, tied with Ovechkin (48 on ice goals for, 35 against) for the best differential among forwards on the Capitals.

-In 46 career games against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Alex Ovechkin has 66 points (37 goals); those 37 goals are the most goals he has against a single opponent the Capitals haven’t shared a division with since 2005-06, and he has two career hat tricks against the Maple Leafs

-The Capitals have scored 66 goals in the second period this year, tied for the most in the NHL (Penguins)

Flashback Game

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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