(SportsNetwork.com) – The Washington Capitals aim to end an inconsistent
November on a positive note when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs for
Saturday’s battle at Air Canada Centre.
The Capitals are 6-5-2 in November and the club has lost nine of 15 games
dating back to late October. However, things have been better lately for Barry
Trotz’s club, as Washington enters Saturday in the midst of a 3-1-1 stretch
and coming off yesterday’s win over the previously streaking New York
Washington had lost two in a row before halting the Isles’ five-game winning
streak on Friday afternoon. The 5-2 victory came in the back end of a home-
and-home series after the Caps dropped a 3-2 overtime decision Wednesday on
Alex Ovechkin recorded the game-winning goal Saturday, notching his 12th
marker of the season in the second period to give Washington a 3-2 lead.
Evgeny Kuznetsov tallied in the third period to push the cushion to two goals
and Joel Ward sealed the victory with an empty-netter.
Matt Niskanen tallied a goal and two assists for the Caps, while Braden Holtby
turned aside 26 shots for the victory. Kuznetsov added a helper to the winning
cause and Marcus Johansson also scored.
“It’s a big one for us,” said Johansson. “We have to get as many wins as we
can and if we go in and play like we did today, especially the last half of
the game, we’re going to give ourselves a really good chance to win.”
Washington hopes to keep heading in the right direction in tonight’s road
tilt. The Caps are 5-4-3 at home and the club has a similar record on the
road, going 5-4-1 away from D.C.
Toronto is hoping to rebound tonight after dropping Wednesday’s overtime
decision in Pittsburgh. The 4-3 setback halted a two-game winning streak and
dropped the Maple Leafs to 2-3-1 over their last six outings.
The Leafs trailed 1-0 just 26 seconds into the game and Pittsburgh carried a
2-0 lead into the first intermission. Toronto rallied, however, scoring three
times in the second period to forge a 3-3 tie after 40 minutes.
After a scoreless third period, Blake Comeau would deliver the game-winner in
OT, beating Jonathan Bernier on a slap shot from the point. Comeau completed a
hat trick with the game-ending tally. Bernier yielded four goals on 26 shots.
Leo Komarov notched the first two-goal game of his career in the loss. Tyler
Bozak scored Toronto’s other goal and Mike Santorelli recorded a pair of
Toronto is opening a five-game homestand tonight and will try for its third
consecutive win as the host. The Leafs are 7-6-0 at Air Canada Centre this
The Capitals have won two straight and three of the last four overall meetings
against Toronto, but the Leafs have taken two in a row, three of four and six
of the past nine encounters at the ACC.
Justin Peters is expected to start in net for the Capitals. He is 1-1-0 in two
career appearances against the Leafs.
Bernier is 2-1-0 with a 2.01 goals against average versus Washington and
could get the call again tonight. Backup James Reimer is 2-3-1 with a 2.62 GAA
in this matchup.