Preview: Capitals Take On Toronto On Thursday

Photo by Andrew Lahodynskyj/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals will visit the Toronto Maple Leafs for the first of three meetings between the two teams on Thursday. The Maple Leafs swept last season’s regular-season series, including a 7-3 victory north of the border on April 15. Action from Scotiabank Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington locally or ESPN+ for those out-of-market.

Schedule

The Capitals play their first road game of the season and just the first of two times they will play away from Capital One Arena in their first six. They will close out a set of back-to-backs after falling 5-2 to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

The Maple Leafs open up a four-game homestand and end a set of back-to-backs as well after losing 4-3 to the Montreal Canadiens in their season opener.

Last Season’s Records

Capitals: 25-10-4 on road (first in NHL), 44-26-12 (.610) – fourth in Metropolitan Division/eighth in Eastern Conference

Maple Leafs: 31-8-2 at home (tied for third), 54-21-7 (.701 points percentage) – second in Atlantic Division/tied for third in Eastern Conference

Last Season’s Team Leaders

 Maple Leafs:

  • C Auston Matthews (60 goals, 106 points)
  • RW Mitch Marner (62 assists)
  • D Morgan Reilly (23:44 TOI/game)

Notable performances from season opener: RW William Nylander (1-1-2), C John Tavares (0-2-2); Reilly played a team-leading 22:32 vs. Montreal

Capitals:

  • LW Alex Ovechkin (50 goals, 90 points)
  • C Evgeny Kuznetsov (54 assists)
  • D John Carlson (54 assists, 23:49 TOI/game)

Notable performances from season opener: Five players (LW Anthony Mantha, C Dylan Strome, D Erik Gustafsson, LW Conor Sheary, C Nic Dowd) recorded a point; Carlson led the Capitals in ice-time on Wednesday (25:51)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

Maple Leafs: Ilya Samsonov, 25 — 23-12-5, .896 save percentage, 3.02 goals-against average, three shutouts in 44 games with the Capitals last season and will make his Toronto debut against his former team after Washington did not tender him a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent

Capitals: Charlie Lindgren, 28 – 5-0-0, .958 save percentage, 1.22 goals-against average in five NHL games with St. Louis Blues; 24-7-3 .925 save percentage and 2.21 goals-against average in 34 games with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds; 1-2-0, .888 save percentage, 4.83 goals-against average in three career games vs. Toronto; will make Washington debut

Injuries/Illnesses

Capitals

* LW Carl Hagelin (hip, will miss second straight game, out indefinitely)

* RW Tom Wilson (ACL, second, out indefinitely)

* C Nicklas Backstrom (hip, second, out indefinitely)

Maple Leafs

* D Timothy Liljegren (hernia, second, out indefinitely)

* D Jordie Benn (groin, second, out indefinitely)

Key Stats From Season Openers

Capitals

* 35 shots

* 30 shots-against

* 0-for-four on power-play

* two-for-three on penalty kill

* 48 hits

* 17 takeaways

Maple Leafs

* 32 shots

* 23 shots-against

* 0-for-four on power-play

* four-for-four on penalty kill

* 12 takeaways

Projected Lineups

Capitals

Ovechkin — Kuznetsov — Connor Brown
Aliaksei Protas — Strome — Mantha
Marcus Johansson — Lars Eller — T.J. Oshie
Sheary — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Martin Fehervary — Carlson
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson — Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Lindgren
Darcy Kuemper

Scratches: LW Joe Snively, C Connor McMichael, D Matt Irwin

Maple Leafs

Michael Bunting — Matthews — Marner
Nylander — Tavares — Denis Malgin
Pierre Engvall — Alexander Kerfoot — Calle Jarnkrok
Zach Aston-Reese — David Kampf — Nicolas Aube Kubel

Morgan Rielly — T.J. Brodie
Jake Muzzin — Justin Holl
Mark Giordano — Rasmus Sandin

Samsonov
Murray

Scratches: N/A

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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8 Responses to Preview: Capitals Take On Toronto On Thursday

  1. Greg Findlay says:

    Let’s hope John Carlson gets up to speed tonight. -4 officially. -5 if you count the empty net goal. He hasn’t seemed like himself for a while now.
    I wouldn’t mind seeing McMichael centering the third line either.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Agree with your assessment, Greg. Hoping the whole team turns it up a notch tonight, as I thought they were off a step in all phases of the game last night.

    • KimRB says:

      Carlson is a knucklehead. I remember a blind backhand pass to the Caps goal mouth in the first period last night. No harm done, but it was an incredibly stupid pass that had disaster written all over it. There’s a reason why he’s never won a Norris, even with those big offensive numbers.

    • Lenny says:

      Empty net goals don’t count for a minus?

  2. Anonamouse says:

    Thanks for putting this up early(before noon). There is still nothing about tonight’s game at Capsdotcom or TOS.

  3. Marky says:

    I thought I saw somewhere that Eller is sick? That might give McMichael a chance to play tonight if that’s the case.

  4. steven says:

    After last night lackluster and very sluggish performance Im surprised that there are not changes in the lineup to get the team rolling. Took a spanking from the Bruins and cant afford one from the Leafs tonight. Should sit MoJo and put in Snively and CMM for Eller. To go along with what was said earlier yeah Calson looked bad last night but he has looked bored for sometime now.

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