Puck Drop: 8:00 p.m.  |  Arena: NMC Memorial Stadium  |  TV: CBC  |  Radio: TSN 1050

Game Day Quotes

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz on the rivalry between the two teams stemming from last season’s playoff series:

It was a terrific series. There were so many overtime games. There were some twists and turns in that series. I think you saw a young team grow up and mature this year. When you play someone six or seven games in a playoff series, that is rivalry. There are so many guys that have battled over six or seven games. Players have long memories. You expect both teams to come out loaded and ready to go. You’ve got to be excited.

Mike Babcock on the lack of practice on the outdoor rink due to weather issues:

Well, the good thing about it is it’s going to be the same for both teams. It would have been nice to get out there and get the Zamboni going and everything be done, but it’s not. That’s just the way it is. Whatever the ice conditions, wind conditions, all that stuff — it’ll be the same for both teams and it’ll be a good game.

Babcock on the Marleau-Kadri-Marner combination and if he foresaw the trio as a line early on in the season:

They’re feeling good about themselves. They’re scoring. Everyone wants to score. You know, obviously Mitch has gotten to another level of late, which is positive for him. But they’ve been able to play against good lines and still be a factor, which is really good for us. You know, I think everybody goes through good times and not so good times throughout the year. You want those down times to be as short as they can. Right now, they’ve got a good thing going. We’ve got to have it going today.

Babcock on what Tomas Plekanec has added to the team:

I get a can’t miss matchup. What I mean by that: When Matty is back and you look at it, and if you had Leo and Pleky and Kappy, it doesn’t matter who they play against. We miss our matchup? They go next and they can have them. I think that’s important.

The other thing is he’s a really strong faceoff guy on his backhand side for the penalty kill. We went through one clip today. It doesn’t matter how many times you show a guy something right at the start. When you’ve played as long as he has, that’s not going to come natural right away. You’ve got to come on the ice and do what you do, and over time, get used to playing here.

We just think he can really help us here and give us depth, and give us in a position where you’re not scared of any matchup as time goes on.

Babcock on “managing the emotions” and the challenges of outdoor games:

This will be my fourth one. There’s a hockey game going on. We’ve just got to find a way to play the best we can and find a way to win. Is the ice as good as it normally is? Lots of times there are not as many plays in these games because the ice isn’t that great. If the ice isn’t that great, don’t turn the puck over. Do it a different way. You’ve got to figure out wherever it’s going to be. The sun, the wind, all the stuff… in the end, it’s a great opportunity and a great experience for both teams.

Babcock on Auston Matthews’ status:

He’s doing good. He’s skating every single day. He’s working hard on his conditioning. The big thing with this injury is that when you come back from this injury, you have your legs. With the previous injury, you don’t have any legs because you didn’t do anything. I think jumping right in and being ready to go when it comes times to come back will be positive for him. He won’t have to get his conditioning back. He’ll have it already.

Babcock on the team’s depth and how they’ve fared without Auston Matthews (1-0-2 since the most recent injury, 7-4-2 without him in the lineup this season):

We’ve built significant [depth] but we’ve got way more to build. We’ve got a lot more coming. What we’ve got covered here is real nice. We’ll be set up for years to come. But I think the more competition you can create on your roster, the better it is and the more fun it is. The right for ice time and the privilege to play is important. I think it’s important that you have good players battling for that. We’ve been able to create that and we want to create more of it.

We’re not trying to say we don’t miss Auston. He’s an elite player and we’re a better team with him than without. In saying that, when you put your sweater on at net, who ever is dressed — in my opinion — we have enough to win. We’ve got to find a way to do it.

Babcock on the team’s growth since the playoff series loss to Washington last Spring:

It’s significant. The first thing that happens is, when you’re not a very good team, no one takes you seriously. So you play a lot of those wishy-washy games. You don’t know you’re in them at the time, but then when you play this year and you’re a good team, and every night you’re getting a real game, you know how much harder it is to get points. That’s how you build your team so that when it comes to playoff time, you’re battle tested already.

I just think we’re significantly better because our young guys are better. They’re harder. They’ve been through it more. They’ve seen what it’s like. They’ve been eliminated from the playoffs. They know right away here that you get in the playoffs and 10 days later one of you is moving on and one is going home. These are all lessons that you can talk about, but until you’ve been through them, you don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong — we’re still going to have lots of highs and lots of crushing lows. That’s just part of being on a good team.  But you want to set yourself up for as many opportunities as you can possibly have, and I think we’re going in the right direction that way.

Capitals forward TJ Oshie on whether there’s any carryover from last year’s playoffs:

Any time you have a playoff series with a team, there is a little bit of a rivalry left over for a couple of years. We felt that when we played Toronto this year. I think it’ll feel the same out there. I think you’ll see a bit of a rivalry game. There will probably be a little nastiness out there, which I think is always more fun.

Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov on keeping it simple in an outdoor game:

I never keep it simple.

Kuznetsov on testing the lay of the boards in warmup:

I try to stay away from the boards. I don’t have to test them.

Matchup Stats

GF/g3.21 (6th)3.05 (10th)
GA/g2.77 (11th)2.97 (21st)
PP%20.3% (16th)
21.7% (6th)
PK%83.6% (3rd)79.6% (19th)
Shots/g31.8 (16th)28.6 (31st)
Shots Against/g34.1 (28th)32.4 (20th)
5v5 CF%49.3% (18th)47.9% (23rd)
5v5 SV%.928 (7th).925 (12th)
5v5 SH%9.3% (2nd)9.3% (2nd)

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup

*We have added goal, assist, and point totals for each player below the lines. Total goals per line are indicated, too, as well as save percentage for goalies.

Marleau – Kadri – Marner
(66-20-14-34) – (64-23-21-44) – (66-17-36-53) Total: 60
Van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Brown
  (65-26-15-41) – (65-10-23-33) – (66-12-11-24)  Total: 48
Hyman – Plekanec – Nylander
  (66-12-21-33) – (62-6-18-24) – (66-14-35-49) Total: 32
Komarov – Moore – Kapanen
 (66-5-11-16) – (47-6-6-12) – (23-4-2-6)  Total: 15

Rielly – Hainsey
 (60-6-31-37) – (63-4-17-21) Total: 10
Gardiner – Zaitsev
 (66-4-36-40) – (48-4-7-11) Total: 8
Dermott – Polak
(23-1-7-8) – (40-2-7-9) Total: 3

Andersen (.922 sv%)
McElhinney (.929 sv%)

Scratched: Martin, Leivo, Carrick
Injured: Matthews

Washington Capitals Projected Lineup

Ovechkin – Backstrom – Wilson
  (54-39-32-71) – (53-15-31-46) – (60-11-17-28) Total: 65
Vrana – Kuznetsov – Oshie
(57-10-10-20) – (64-19-42-61) – (58-12-23-35) Total: 41
Connolly – Eller – Burakovsky
  (55-14-8-22) – (63-14-18-32) – (38-8-9-17) Total: 36
Stephenson – Beagle – Smith-Pelly
 (51-5-9-14) – (54-6-13-19) – (60-7-9-16) Total: 18

Kempny – Carlson
 (4-0-0-0) – (64-11-39-50) Total: 11
Orlov – Niskanen
 (64-8-15-23) – (50-4-19-23) Total: 12
Orpik – Djoos
 (64-0-8-8) – (54-3-11-14) Total: 3

Holtby (.908 sv%)
Grubauer (.922 sv%)