In the battle of the middling teams, Washington (10-8-4) is in Toronto to take on a Maple Leaf squad (11-8-3) looking to build on three solid games (2 wins & 1 OT loss).

The Leafs are 5-3-2 in their last 10, while Washington is 6-3-1 in their last ten. Washington is on the second half of a back-to-back, coming off a win against the New York Islanders.

Friend of the site, RMNB, writes in their keys to the game  “don’t play down to them“, which is somewhat misleading; while their underlying numbers have improved, the Capitals still haven’t proven to be anything to write home about and haven’t been in some time. Until they prove otherwise, they appear to be a team whose window was about four years ago. Despite firing coaches and their GM, the team is still a middle-of-the-pack bubble team that could use a ‘retool on the fly’ any day now. There is help on the way, though.

Recent successes for the Capitals include Calder Trophy shoe in, Filip Forsberg. Forsberg is tearing apart the league right now and leading his team in scoring with 10 goals, 13 assists for 23pts. This would be a big boost for a team playing Tom Wilson on their first line. The bad news is the fact that they traded him for Martin Erat last year, who, in turn, requested a trade out of Washington shortly thereafter.

Early returns could make this, impossibly, a candidate for “worse than the Tukka Rask trade”.

Mike Green is always injured and that is a big boost for the Leafs.

The Maple Leafs are icing a fully healthy lineup sans Roman Polak.

Washington Capitals Projected Lineup

Alexander Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – Tom Wilson
(12g-9a-21pts) – (5g-17a-22pts) – (1g-3a-4pts)
Marcus Johansson – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Troy Brouwer
(9g-7a-16pts) – (2g-6a-8pts) – (5g-6a-11pts)
Jason Chimera – Jay Beagle – Joel Ward
(2g-2a-4pts) – (2g-2a-4pts) – (9g-3a-12pts)
Brooks Laich – Andre Burakovsky – Eric Fehr
(0g-1a-1pts) – (4g-9a-13pts) – (3g-2a-5pts)

Brooks Orpik – John Carlson
(0g-6a-6pts) – (2g-11a-13pts)
Karl Alzner – Matt Niskanen
(0g-3a-3pts) – (1g-9a-10pts)
Jack Hillen – Nate Schmidt
(0g-0a-0pts) – (0g-2a-2pts)

Justin Peters (2W-3L-1OT-3.15gaa-.882sv%)
Braden Holtby (8W-5L-3OT-2.27gaa-.916sv%)

Scratched: Michael Latta, Liam O’Brien

Injured: Mike Green (upper body), Aaron Volpatti (upper body),
Dmitry Orlov (wrist), John Erskine (neck surgery)

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup

James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
(9g-8a-17pts) – (9g-11a-20pts) – (11g-12a-23pts)
Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – Mike Santorelli
(4g-12a-16pts) – (5g-5a-10pts) – (3g-9a-12pts)
Joffrey Lupul – Peter Holland – David Clarkson
(2g-1a-3pts) – (5g-4a-9pts) – (6g-1a-7pts)
Daniel Winnik – Trevor Smith – David Booth
(1g-8a-9pts) – (0g-1a-1pts) – (0g-0a-0pts)

Cody Franson – Dion Phaneuf
(3g-11a-14pts) – (1g-10a-11pts)
Jake Gardiner – Stephane Robidas
(1g-3a-4pts) – (0g-3a-3pts)
Morgan Rielly – Korbinian Holzer
(2g-5a-7pts) – (0g-0a-0pts)

Jonathan Bernier
James Reimer

Scratched: Richard Panik
Injured: None

Status report: The Maple Leafs are expected to go with the same lines and defensive pairing as they used in the loss to Pittsburgh. … Green has not played the past two games, but could play Saturday. The Capitals also recalled Steve Oleksy from the American Hockey League on Saturday. (

Who’s hot: Bozak has scored shorthanded goals in back-to-back games. Komarov registered his first multi-goal game with two against Pittsburgh. … Ovechkin has three goals in his past two games. Backstrom is riding a four-game point streak with a goal and five assists. Niskanen had three assists against the Islanders. (

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Washington Capitals - Head to Head

Head to Head:Maple LeafsCaptials
Record11-8-3 (.568% - 16th)10-8-4 (.545 - 18th)
Goal Differential+3+4
PP18.5 (18th)28.6% (2nd)
PK84.2 % (9th)80.6% 17th)
GF/G3.18 (3rd)2.82 (12th)
GA/G3.00 (24rd)2.59 (14th)
SF/G30.4 (12th)31.7 (15th)
SA/G32.7 (26th)27.3 (4th)
5v5 SF/G28.9 (19th)28.7 (21st)
5v5 SA/G31.6 (25th)26.6 (6th)
5v5 CF%46.8% (27th) 51.4 (12th)
5v5 FF%47.7% (24th)52.0% (10th)
5v5 Sh%9.09% (5th)7.59% (17th)
5v5 Sv%91.34% (21st)90.97% (25th)
FO%51.6% (10th)51.3% (13th)
PP=Power Play %
PK=Penalty Kill %
GF/G=Goals for per game
GA/G=Goals against per game
SF/G=Shots for per game
SA/G=Shots against per game
Sh%=Shooting %
Sv%=Save percentage
F0%=Faceoff percentage
CF%=Corsi for % (shot attempts: shots, blocked shots, missed shots)
FF%=Fenwick for% (shots+missed shots)

Randy Carlyle – Pre-game