After a disastrous eight game losing streak in December uncharacteristic of what one has come to expect of the Washington Capitals, Bruce Fuckin’ Boudreau’s squad has somewhat got their season back on course with a 5-2-3 record over their last ten outings. More uncharacteristically, Alex Ovechkin is currently scoring at a pace that would leave him below the 40 goal mark for the first time in his career. In fact, AO has only once in his five-year career scored less than 50 (he potted 46 in 2006-07). The low goal total surprised the hockey world in the first half of the season before news that helped explain the drop off broke in early January – Ovechkin had received a cortisone shot on his left hand or wrist. Ovechkin’s injury has certainly played a big part in the Capitals’ fall from first in goals for last season (3.82) to fourteenth so far this season at 2.77 goals per game.
The Leafs pulled off an amazing, come-from-behind 5-4 shootout victory in Washington the last time these two teams met, picking up a rare two points few teams collect in the Verizon Centre. Away from the Verizon Centre fortress where the Caps are 16-5-5, the Capitals are 10-9-3 so the Leafs are fortunate to be hosting tonight, taking nothing away from this talented Washington team. The Caps are without Semin and Fehr tonight and Boudreau will also call third string netminder Braden Holtby’s number, but certainly the Leafs can’t take anything for granted.
Giguere starts in net for Toronto. Jay Rosehill draws in for Colton Orr, who was placed on the IR today with an undisclosed injury sustained in Thursday’s fight with George Parros. Mike Brown also returns to the lineup having served his three game suspension for his hit on Ed Jovanovski.