Game Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs Host Washington Capitals, Alexander Ovechkin

CUP CHECK - Bruce Bennett

The Toronto Maple Leafs play host to the Washington Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin tonight. Washington finally has a win and Ovie finally has a goal. Bodes well for Toronto I'm sure.


Washington Capitals
@ Toronto Maple Leafs

Thursday, Jan 31, 2013, 7:00 PM EST
Where: Air Canada Centre
When: 7:00pm
How: Sportsnet Ontario, Fan590
Toronto Maple Leafs Tickets: Starting from $58

Complete Coverage >

The Toronto Maple Leafs host the Washington Capitals and their 1-4-1 record this year. The Caps, somehow, are struggling mightily under new coach Adam Oates. Alexander Ovechkin, once a demi-god, is now saddled with Jay Beagle and Joey Crabb as linemates. This is obviously where I remind everyone what a beast Kessel was with Crabb on his wing. He did get off the mark with a vintage goal the other night but I think it's clear that his best days are behind him. Although, not for the reasons that some morons might suggest:

Of course he's not reaching the heights of his youth! That is the case for almost any player. Gretzky never matched his peak from 23-25, Lemieux's best years were his 22 and 23 years, and the observed peak age for production is 25 years old. He's not slowing down because of anything fishier than the fact that time has passed. Once upon a time he was a huge draw. I remember friends and I getting tickets specifically to see him play the first few times in Toronto. Since then, it hasn't even been a consideration. The Capitals also don't have a Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada game this year. I asked the question on Twitter and got a lot of similar stories. Where once they went to see Ovechkin play they now go see the Capitals.

Of course, Ovie loves playing the Leafs so we can always count on that. Like in this classic game when @Ryantologist, SkinnyFish, Chemmy and I hit the Leafs game up and almost got murdered by Jason Chimera.

Lines and Defence Pairings

Toronto Maple Leafs

JVR-Bozak-Kessel

McClement-Grabbo-Kulemin

Frattin-Kadri-Komarov

Hamilton-Steckel-Orr

Kostka-Phaneuf

Gunnar-Liles

Franson-Fraser

Reimer

Scrivens

Pressbox: Komisarek

IR: Brown and MacArthur

Washington Capitals

Oveckin-Beagle-V.v.V

Wolski-Backstrom-Brouwer

Chimera-Ribeiro-Ward

Hendricks-Perreault-Fehr

Alzner-Green

Erskine-Carlson

Schultz-Kundratek

Neuvirth

Holtby

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