Friday, January 21, 2011

Game #49 Preview: Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs


Where: Air Canada Center, Toronto, ON

When:  January 22, 2011, 7:00 PM

History:           
Caps Record on this Date: 4-4-1-0
Caps Game 49 Record: 17-15-1-1
All-Time vs. TOR: 56-49-10-5
All-Time at TOR: 20-28-6-3
Last Season vs. TOR: 2-1-1
Last Meeting: 12/6/10, WAS 3 TOR 4 (OT-SO)

This Year:
WAS Record: 26-14-8
Standings Points: 60
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 5th
Last Game: 1/20/11, WAS 2 NYI 1
Streak: Won 1

TOR Record: 19-22-5
Standings Points: 43
Division Rank: 4th
Conference Rank: 12th    
Last Game: 1/20/11, TOR 5 ANA 2
Streak: Won 1

Probable Line-Ups:     
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 CHIMERA
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 90 JOHANSSON, 22 KNUBLE  
Forward Line 3: 26 HENDRICKS, 85 PERRAULT, 83 BEAGLE
Forward Line 4: 17 KING, 15 GORDON, 39 STECKEL
Defense Pair 1: 52 GREEN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 23 HANNAN, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV
Back-up Goalie: 70 HOLTBY

Toronto
Forward Line 1: 16 MACARTHUR, 84 GRABOVSKI, 41 KULEMIN
Forward Line 2: 46 CRABB, 42 BOZAK, 81 KESSEL
Forward Line 3: 32 VERSTEEG, 47 BOYCE, 9 ARMSTRONG
Forward Line 4: 45 MUELLER, 37 BRENT, 28 ORR
Defense Pair 1: 3 PHANEUF, 22 BEAUCHEMIN
Defense Pair 2: 2 SCHENN, 15 KABERLE
Defense Pair 3: 8 KOMISAREK, 36 GUNNARSSON
Goalie: 35 GIGUERE
Back-up Goalie: 50 GUSTAVSSON

Injuries:
Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, 10 BRADLEY (broken finger) IR, 28 SEMIN (hip) DTD, 16 FEHR (upper body) DTD, 30 NEUVIRTH (lower body) DTD

TOR – MITCHELL (knee) IR

Caps Milestones:
Jason Chimera needs 5 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Brooks Laich needs 7 goals to reach 100 in his career.

Preview:

The Capitals finish off this three game road trip in Toronto. The Caps lost in overtime 3-2 to the first place Flyers and beat the second to last place Islanders 2-1. Both one goal games but the level of competition is nowhere close to the same. The battle for consistency continues against a Toronto team that has been just as inconsistent with a 7-0 loss to the Ranger followed up the next day with a 5-2 win over the Ducks. For Washington, the top line is the key and they haven’t been producing. They took a step in the right direction against the Isles, scoring both goals but Ovechkin and Backstrom spent time in the penalty box. The Caps had to kill off 6 power plays and will need to be more disciplined going forward. The Leafs always seem to present a challenge to the Caps so look for another close game. I would like to see the top line take control of the game and get back on track. I expect this game to be physical early and if the Capitals can get the early lead, a big if, they will win.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 TOR 2



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