Preview: Maple Leafs v. Capitals

 


Hey, who is that scoring the game winner?

It's amazing what can change in 96 hours. After Monday's game the Leafs had a revitalized goalie, a hard-working team with two scoring lines, and a defence that seemed to be rounding into form. Now the Leafs's goaltending is back to being questionable (or a step above mediocre) and the team's best defenceman is falling to pieces.

REMEMBER YOUR SPG PICKS FOR THE CONTEST (WILL NOT HAPPEN EXEMPT)

The Capitals come into Toronto with some serious injuries to their team but the depth that George McPhee has compiled has kept the Capitals humming.


Washington Capitals Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
John Erskine mild concussion 12.5.2008
Tom Poti groin 12.5.2008
Sergei Fedorov sprained left ankle 12.5.2008

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jeff Schultz broken finger 11.26.2008
Chris Clark stress fracture in right forearm 11.26.2008
Mike Green bruised right shoulder 11.20.2008
Brian Pothier post-concussion syndrome 9.20.2008
Alexander Semin strained upper back/shoulder 11.20.2008

That is an absolutely ridiculous amount of injuries. They've handled them mostly because Ovechking is awesome:
GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Alex Ovechkin 24 14 20 34 11 28 4 0 1 1 135 10.4

Ovechkin started off slow but has since gotten back to the form that has made him probably the most popular player in the NHL. The goaltending has been up and down which is scary because once they get it together they'll get above they will have little trouble running away with the division.

Southeast Standings

GP W L OTL PT
Washington 26 14 9 3 31
Carolina 26 12 12 2 26
Florida 25 11 11 3 25
Tampa Bay 25 6 11 8 20
Atlanta 25 8 14 3 19

(updated 12.5.2008 at 9:06 AM EST)


On the Leafs' side, the injuries are not as oppresive as the Capitals:

Toronto Maple Leafs Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Mike Van Ryn concussion/broken nose/hand 11.9.2008
Jonas Frogren torn muscles in left arm 11.25.2008

That Van Ryn injury, in my mind, has really unsettled the defence. It will be interesting to see how he slots back into the lineup and I don't think it can come soon enough.

One thing that I think we can be reasonably sure of, as The Omen mentioned, is that Kaberle will be thrown back into the deep end.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Tomas Kaberle 26 2 13 15 -10 4 1 0 0 0 33 6.1

The amazing thing is that despite having the rough season he is still on pace for 6 goals and 41 assists. The -30 mark that he is on pace for the slightly scary part. Part of Kaberle's struggles can probably be attributed to the loss of his long time partner in Bryan McCabe. I think getting paired with Pavel Kubina for a stretch could benefit him.

So it's the Southeast-leading Capitals coming into Toronto to face a Leafs team that got skated hard at 8am before flying across three time zones. Will that affect the team? Probably in a good way.


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