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Game Preview: Maple Leafs shake up lines vs Capitals

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With third line centre Nazem Kadri out, Babcock is getting creative.

Washington Capitals v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs

Time: 7:00PM

Location: 43.6435° N, 79.3791° W

Broadcast/Streaming: TSN4, TVA Sports, NHL Live, NBC Sports Washington

Opponent SBNation Site: Japers RInk

The Maple Leafs road trip has ended, with the final record being 3-2-1., with losses against the Coyotes (again, I’m sorry), Rangers, and the Blues in overtime. The Leafs also lost Nazem Kadri to a concussion, suffered at the hands of the Blues Vince Dunn

The big discussion as the Leafs return home is how will they respond to the loss of Kadri? They haven’t called anyone else up, so it must mean someone is getting shifted. Let’s get right to the Leafs lines.

Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau - Auston Matthews - Kasperi Kapanen
Andreas Johnsson - William Nylander - Connor Brown
Par Lindholm - Frederik Gauthier - Tyler Ennis

Yes, William Nylander is getting his chance to be the centre some have always wanted him to be. With the addition of Tavares to the Leafs, most thought this idea was dead, but if it works well, there will always be options for last minute substitutions. Tyler Ennis’ return happened at the right time as well, so he could slip into the line up with ease.

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Muzzin - Travis Dermott

Yes, it’s the return of Rielly - Hanisey, and Jake Muzzin is down with Dermott. These are just the morning skate pairings so maybe things could change, but keeping the defence deep on the left side isn’t a bad idea.

Frederik Andersen
Garret Sparks

Andersen is starting, which is no surprise. Since I’m a bit late I also have the morning skate power play units:

Washington Capitals lines

Forward Lines

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Nicklas Backstrom - TJ Oshie
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Nic Dowd - Travis Boyd

Defence Pairings

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

Goaltenders

Braden Holtby
Pheonix Copley

The Capitals placed Devante Smith-Pelley on waivers yesterday, if he clears he could still play for the Capitals, but I wouldn’t bet on him playing if he does.


Round one vs Boston Bruins

Toronto Team Boston
Toronto Team Boston
3-2 Record 2-3
14GF - 14GA Goal Differential 14GF - 14GA
27.3% - 5th Power Play 35.7% - 2nd
64.3% - 15th Penalty Kill 72.7% - 12th
Auston Matthews - 4 Most Goals Bergeron, Krejci, Pastrnak, Marchand, Coyle - 2
Morgan Rielly - 4 Most Assists Brad Marchand - 4
Auston Matthews - 5 Most Points Brad Marchand - 6
Nazem Kadri - 19 Most PM Charlie McAvoy - 6
Morgan Rielly - 24:34/G TOI Leader Charlie McAvoy - 16
Frederik Andersen - .925sv% Starting Goalie Tuukka Rask - .922sv%

Like the Maple Leafs were the past six games, the Capitals are on a road trip themselves. Right now they’ve beaten the Sharks 5-1, and Kings 3-2, while losing to the Ducks(!) 5-2 and were shutout by the Blue Jackets 3-0.

According to Japers Rink, on the road this season, the Capitals have had just 70 power plays, so hopefully the refs keep their whistles to themselves as well. The Leafs will need some friendly officiating with Tom Wilson out on the ice.

After a frustrating game against the Coyotes, and first half against the Blues, the home crowd needs to see a strong start from the Maple Leafs. They’ve fallen to four points back of the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic, and Montreal is right there waiting to take the spot.