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Game preview: Washington Capitals @ Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs welcome the Caps to establish the Matthews vs Ovech- nope. Not doing it.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight is the first meeting between the Maple Leafs and Capitals this season, and the Caps will be looking to burn off those thanksgiving dinners with a high energy game against the Maple Leafs, but they’ll need to keep the pace up as the Leafs are very comfortable at home this season, sporting a 7-3-0 record, while the Caps are about average on the road, going 5-2-2.

Washington Capitals @ Toronto Maple Leafs
7:00PM - Air Canada Centre
Watch: CBC, GCL, Centre Ice
Listen: TSN1050, Sportsnet590
SBN Opponent: Japers Rink

Always a popular ticket, the Washington Capitals are currently sitting just 3 points back of their division lead, and haven’t had any trouble scoring as they hold a +11 goal differential. These are truly the regular season Washington Capitals - content with trying to win a Presidents Trophy and calling it a season.

The Maple Leafs are out performing some expectations, just a win or two outside the playoff picture, they are half a very young team still learning the ropes, and half seasoned vets, which keeps things nice and even defensively and offensively ion the big picture, in the smaller picture there are defensive gaps which are getting covered up by the offense.

Tonight’s game should be a good one, with the Leafs scoring the majority of their goals at home (in the past 4 home games where they scored, they’ve averaged over 4 goals per game). If the Washington offense picks up speed as well, this game could reach early 90’s heights (I won’t be so bold to predict 80’s level of goals).

Toronto Washington
Record 8-8-4 13-5-2
Division 7th 2nd
Conference 14th 3rd
League 24th 4th
Goals +/- 62 / 67 / -5 55 / 44 / +11
PP% 21.1% 9th 16.7% 18th
PK% 82% - 16th 82.2% - 12th
Top Scorer James van Riemsdyk
Auston Matthews
Nazem Kadri - 8 goals
Alex Ovechkin - 12 goals
Top Points James van Riemsdyk - 17pts Niklas Backstrom - 18pts
Top Goalie Frederik Andersen - .909sv% Brayden Holtby - .923sv%

Here are the morning skate lines

Leafs

Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Connor Brown
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Matt Martin - Ben Smith - Nikita Soshnikov

Morgan Rielly - Nikita Zaitsev
Matt Hunwick - Roman Polak
Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick

Frederik Andersen
Jhonas Enroth

Capitals

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Andre Burakovsky
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Justin Williams
Zachary Sanford - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson
Daniel Winnik - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly

Karl Alzner Matt Niskanen
Dmitri Orlov John Carlson
Nate Schmidt Brooks Orpik

Brayden Holtby
Philipp Grubauer

This should should be a good game, if the Leafs can keep up their home ice dominance. The Caps are a real challenge, and a good playoff test on if they can compete with the top contenders, if they have any thoughts of playoffs this year.