Washington Capitals @ Toronto Maple Leafs
07:30 PM at Scotiabank Arena
Watch on: TSN4, TVAS, NBCSWA
Opponent’s Site: Japer’s Rink

In last night’s postgame press conference, Sheldon Keefe laid out the mistakes the Toronto Maple Leafs made in their season opener to the Montreal Canadiens. Since we’re coworkers, I’m going to steal Species work from last night’s recap and not feel bad about it.

Comments from Keefe post-game [via Species]:

  • It was early season sloppiness, but I don’t expect that. With everything our team has been through together, that’s unacceptable.
  • There was nothing wrong with our effort, it was just [being] careless.
  • [We] deserved to lose.
  • [They’re] one of the most dangerous teams on the rush. They’re the most dangerous on the transition, and we talked about that [at morning skate].
  • Reporter: What does the powerplay need to do here? Keefe: Score./

Let’s tackle a couple of those points Keefe laid out. First the power play, the Leafs were on the power play for over six and a half minutes last night. They took 12 shots, with Matthews and Nylander splitting the most dangerous of chances as the two wingers. They got looks, but they didn’t finish.

It’ll sting to hear Jake Muzzin led the Leafs in giveaways with four last night, headlined by the failed clearing attempt that ended up in the back of the net as the game winner with 18 seconds left on the clock. The Leafs as a team turned the puck over 11 times (Rielly, Sandin, Giordano, Tavares, Bunting on that list).

While Matthews did get his chances, it was mostly on the power play. Marner and Bunting were only able to produce more offense than the fourth line (The Black Hole Line) which in an of itself is a main culprit for losing.

The Leafs, on the whole, outplayed their opponent, but failed to manage the game in the last few minutes. They were sloppy and let the game get loose in the final few minutes which gave the Canadiens two chances to hold their lead.

Anyway, on to the next opponent, the Washington Capitals.


Thank you, Sammi Silber, for the lines from Washington’s morning skate.

All eyes from Caps fans will be on Alex Ovechkin this season as he’s on his quest to break some records. Across from him on the first line is former Leaf Connor Brown, who has left Ottawa for the other country’s capital. JVR’s brother, Trevor, is on the Capitals for the Species in the audience.

Since the Capitals played yesterday (a 5-2 loss to Boston), expect former Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren to get the start with starter Darcy Kuemper on the bench.

Capitals Lines

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Connor Brown
Aliaksei Protas - Dylan Strome - Anthony Mantha
Marcus Johansson - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Conor Sheary - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway

Martin Fehérváry - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson - Trevor van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren - projected starter

Connor McMichael (C), Joe Snively (LW), Matt Irwin (LD)


Expect no changes to the Leafs roster since they don’t have any spares!

Leafs Lines

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
William Nylander - John Tavares - Denis Malgin
Pierre Engvall - Alex Kerfoot - Calle Järnkrok
Zach Aston-Reese - David Kämpf - Nicolas Aubé-Kubel

Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Mark Giordano - Rasmus Sandin

Matt Murray
Ilya Samsonov - confirmed starter

The Game

Ilya Samsonov will get the start tonight in his first game for the Maple Leafs against the only other NHL team he’s ever known. Let’s win it for him!