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Leafs vs. Capitals Game Preview: Pond Hockey

The Leafs go outside for a rematch with their playoff adversaries.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Washington Capitals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals: Game #67

Time: 8:00 PM

Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Broadcast/Streaming: NBC/CBC

Opponent SBNation Site: Japers’ Rink

Goin’ out, in my uniform.

You’ve seen the jerseys, you’ve heard the hype (such as it is), you’re ready for the military trappings. It’s time for the Leafs’ outdoor showdown against the Capitals!

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - Tomas Plekanec - William Nylander
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Mitch Marner
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Leo Komarov - Dominic Moore - Kasperi Kapanen

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott - Roman Polak


Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

With no Auston Matthews, the Leafs are running Tomas Plekanec in his place. This is a pretty steep step down, but that line is still capable of doing some damage, not to mention Mitch Marner flicked a switch and went supercharged earlier this year. Toronto has a dangerous offence even without its superstar.

Washington Capitals

Forward Lines

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defence Pairings

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos


Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

The Washington Capitals are not quite the juggernaut they once were, as you might gather from the fact they picked up defender Michal Kempny for a conditional third and then put him with John Carlson. Orlov-Niskanen is a quite respectable second pair; Brooks Orpik is by some metrics one of the worst regular defenders in the NHL. All in all the Caps might be one of the few teams where the Leafs have better defence.

They’ve still got the forwards, though. Alex Ovechkin still leads the league in goals and his team in points; the Caps have a top-five powerplay and a quality QB in John Carlson. Evgeny Kuznetsov is a very fine talent to have as your 2C, behind the always-underrated Nick Backstrom. These guys can score.

Who knows what the weather’s going to be like—playing outside in March is a bit of a crapshoot—but the potential is at least there for a high-octane game. Let’s hope for it.

Go Leafs go!