TORONTO | The Toronto Maple Leafs are a wounded team, missing seven regulars, including their starting goaltender.
Saturday night’s goalie, Jonas Gustavsson, is 1-1-1 with a 3.93 goals-against average and .871 save percentage all time against Washington.
The Maple Leafs have more than a couple American Hockey League players filling substantial roles and are 1-4-1- in their past six.
Alex Ovechkin has 14 goals in 12 career games at Air Canada Centre. He thrives on “Hockey Night in Canada.”
Two-game skid? If there was ever a better-win-it game, it’s this one for the Capitals.
“I think both teams could use a win pretty badly at this stage,” Bruce Boudreau said. “It should make for an interesting contest.”
Interesting is one word for it. It’s a game in the North American spotlight – a good place for the Caps to make a statement and snap out of this recent funk, like the Leafs 1-4-1 in their past six, and also 3-6-1 in the past 10. It’s November, so it’s not a must-win, but the opportunity is there and the Caps know it.
Here are the lines and pairings:
Alex Ovechkin – Marcus Johansson – Alexander Semin
Cody Eakin – Nicklas Backstrom – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Brooks Laich – Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks – Jeff Halpern – Mike Knuble
Karl Alzner – John Carlson
John Erskine – Dennis Wideman
Roman Hamrlik – Jeff Schultz