Preview: Capitals, Toronto Look To Bounce Back After Streaks End

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals tangle with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night for the second meeting of the season between the two teams. Toronto has taken four straight and five of the last seven against Washington dating back to the start of the 2018-19 season, including a 3-2 win at Scotiabank Arena on October 13. Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington locally or NHL Network nationally starting at 7 PM ET.

SCHEDULE

Toronto: end two-game road trip, which started with a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday

Washington: continue three-game homestand and stretch where they play 10 of 16 in the nation’s capital after opening it with a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday

RECORDS

Toronto: 19-6-6/.710 points percentage – second in Atlantic Division, tied for second in Eastern Conference (third in points percentage); 8-4-3 on road, ninth in NHL

Washington: 15-13-4/.521 points percentage – sixth in Metropolitan Division, ninth in Eastern Conference (10th in points percentage); 8-5-1 at home, 14th

HOW EACH TEAM IS DOING

Toronto: league-best 15-2-4 since November 1, saw 15-game point-streak (12-0-3) end in New York

Washington: won five straight before losing to Dallas and are 8-3-1 in their last 12 since dropping nine of their previous 11 (2-6-3)

TEAM LEADERS

Toronto

  • RW William Nylander (17 goals)
  • RW Mitch Marner (25 assists, 37 points)
  • D Morgan Reilly (23:00 TOI/game)

Notes: Toronto has four players in the top-47 in league scoring (Marner: tied for 10th; C Auston Matthews — 20 assists, 35 points: tied for 13th; Nylander — 33 points: tied for 25th; C John Tavares — 14 goals, 30 points: tied for 38th); Marner, 25, saw a franchise-record 23-game point-streak (11 goals, 32 points) end in New York; Nylander, 26, has three goals and seven points in his last four but none in his last two; C Auston Matthews saw an eight-game point-streak (eight assists, 14 points) end on Thursday; C John Tavares has 13 goals and 25 points in his last 25, including a goal and two assists in his last three; LW Michael Bunting has nine assists and 12 points over a 10-game point streak, including three goals over a three-game goal-scoring streak; LW Pierre Engvall has two goals and three points in his last three; D Rasmus Sandin has one goal, five points in his last five, including four helpers in his last three; RW Pontus Holmberg has four assists in as many games

Washington

Notes: Ovechkin, 37, has 18 goals and 30 points in his last 26, including seven goals, 10 points, and three multi-point efforts in his last five; Ovechkin also enters Saturday two goals away from passing Gordie Howe (801) for second-most goals in NHL history; Kuznetsov, 30, has six assists and seven points over his last seven; C Dylan Strome has five assists, six points in last seven; LW Conor Sheary has one goal, five points over his last five and five assists, eight points over his last eight; LW Anthony Mantha has two goals, six points over his last five; C Lars Eller has three goals in his last five; RW T.J. Oshie is on a four-game point drought; D Erik Gustafsson has a +6 rating over his last four; D Dmitry Orlov has two assists, three points, +2 rating in three games after missing 16 straight games due to injury

KEY TEAM STATS

Goals-per-game:                 TOR – 3.26 (13th)           WSH – 2.97 (T-21st)

Goals-against per game:   TOR – 2.35 (2nd)            WSH – 2.88 (12th)

Power Play:                          TOR – 23.8% (11th)        WSH – 22.2% (T-17th)

Penalty Kill:                         TOR – 79.2% (16th)        WSH – 80.2% (12th)

Shots-per-game:                 TOR – 31.3 (T-18th)        WSH – 31.3 (T-18th)

Shots-against per game:   TOR – 29 (6th)                 WSH – 30.5 (T-10th)

Faceoff-winning %:            TOR – 52.7% (T-7th)      WSH – 48.7% (T-21st)

5v5 Corsi-for %:                  TOR – 50.93% (15th)      WSH – 50.95% (14th)

5v5 x Goals-For %:             TOR – 53.46% (6th)        WSH – 50.68% (17th)

5v5 SCF %:                           TOR – 53.92% (5th)        WSH – 51.49% (13th)

5v5 Shooting %:                  TOR – 9.04% (6th)          WSH – 7.49% (24th)

5v5 Save %:                          TOR – .9393 (1st)             WSH – .9219 (12th)

5v5 PDO:                              TOR – 1.03 (1st)                WSH – .997 (19th)

EXPECTED STARTING GOALTENDERS

Toronto (confirmed): Ilya Samsonov, 25 — 9-2-0, .939 save percentage (first in NHL), 1.70 goals-against average (first), two shutouts (tied for fourth) in 11 games this season; has won five straight starts, including back-to-back shutouts in his past two vs. Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks; 24 saves on 26 shots (.923 save percentage) in first career start against Washington, whom he spent the first three seasons of his NHL career with before not being tendered a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent on July 11, in his first start for Toronto; first career start in Washington as a visitor

Washington: Darcy Kuemper, 32 — 8-9-2, .916 save percentage, 2.56 goals-against average, two shutouts in 20 games; expected to return after missing seven games with a lower-body injury; 3-2-0, .909 save percentage, 2.50 goals-against average, one shutout in seven career games vs. Toronto

INJURIES/ILLNESSES

Toronto

  • D Jake Muzzin (cervical spine, will miss 28th straight game, out indefinitely)
  • RW Calle Jarnkrok (groin, seventh, week-to-week)
  • D Jordie Benn (upper-body, 11th, week-to-week)
  • D Morgan Reilly (knee, 12th, indefinite)
  • C Nick Robertson (shoulder, fourth, week-to-week)

Washington

  • D Martin Fehervary (lower-body, seventh, day-to-day)
  • RW Connor Brown (ACL, 29th, indefinite)
  • LW Carl Hagelin (hip, 33rd, indefinite)
  • RW Tom Wilson (ACL, 33rd, indefinite)
  • C Nicklas Backstrom (hip, 33rd, indefinite)
  • LW Beck Malenstyn (finger, 22nd, week-to-week)
  • D Alexander Alexeyev (upper-body, fourth, status unknown)
  • RW Sonny Milano (illness, second, day-to-day)

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Toronto

Bunting — Matthews — Nylander
Denis Malgin — Tavares — Marner
Alexander Kerfoot — David Kampf — Engvall
Zach Aston-Reese — Holmberg — Joey Anderson

Mark Giordano — Justin Holl
Sandin — Timothy Liljegreen
T.J. Brodie — Connor Timmins

Samsonov
Matt Murray

Scratched: RW Wayne Simmonds

Washington

Ovechkin — Strome — Sheary
Aliaksei Protas — Kuznetsov — Mantha
Marcus Johansson — Lars Eller — T.J. Oshie
Nicolas Aube-Kubel — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Gustafsson — Carlson
Orlov — Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin — Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Scratched: LW Joe Snively, D Lucas Johansen

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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