The Washington Capitals (33-20-7) visit Scotiabank Arena Thursday night to face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs (36-19-4) for a 7:00 PM puck drop. This is the third and final meeting between the teams, the Maple Leafs won both of the previous meetings. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and NBC Sports Washington.
The Capitals are coming off a 3-2 road win against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night. Scoring for Washington: Alex Ovechkin (2) and Brett Connolly (1).
Toronto lost to the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday night.
What to watch for in the Washington Capitals:
The Capitals are continuing on their 12-day road trip that started Tuesday Feb. 12. Since they departed on their road trip, the Capitals have played four games winning two of them. During the past two games, Captain Alex Ovechkin had extended his league leading goal total to 42 goals going into Thursday’s matchup in Toronto. In Monday’s game against the Kings, Ovechkin scored two power play goals from his “office” – the left circle in the offensive zone. Ovechkin eclipsed the 40-goal mark in Sunday’s loss against the Anaheim Ducks. This is Ovechkin’s tenth 40-goal season, tying him for second for most 40-goal seasons, the only person he trails is Wayne Gretzky, who has 12 40-goal seasons. Ovechkin has scored five goals and three assists in his past five games. Ovechkin’s household reputation of scoring is sure to help the Capitals in Thursday’s tough matchup, as well as helping the team secure their playoff spot.
Ovi cam feat. loud Caps fans 🚨 pic.twitter.com/0GhKYDwoqB
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) February 19, 2019
The past three games, John Carlson has recorded a goal and four assists. With his first assist in Monday’s game, Carlson recorded his 300th career assist, becoming the third defensemen in franchise history to reach that feat. In Carlson’s past three game, one goal and five assists. In the past five games against the Maple Leafs, he has recorded a goal and four assists. In the two games that the Capitals have played Toronto, Carlson recorded only one assist. He will be a crucial part of not only the defensive play but also on the offensive front Thursday night. Carlson’s two assists from Monday night came as the primary assists for both of Ovechkin’s powerplay goals. If he can string together another multipoint game, the Capitals will have a chance to win their first game against the Maple Leafs this season
In net, Braden Holtby will be expected after having a three-day rest period.
What to watch for in the Toronto Maple Leafs:
Auston Matthews has shinned in the past few games, recording four goals and three assists in the past four games, including one goal in Tuesday’s loss to St. Louis. He had been absent for many games this season, only playing in 45 games out of the 59 game so far, but still has tallied 28 goals and 26 assists. He is currently second on the team for goals only trailing John Tavares, who has 33 goals.
The Maple Leafs top powerplay line is one of the best in the league. Consisting of Nazem Kadri, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and Morgan Rielly. Tavares has a total of 33 goals on the season, six of those goals are power play goals. Of the 28 goals that Matthews has on the season, 10 of them have come on the powerplay. The Capitals are going to have to make sure they stay out of the penalty box in Thursday night’s game to avoid this lethal power play line.
Frederik Anderson is expected in net Thursday, carrying a 2.57 goal against average and a .923 save percentage.
Prediction: Capitals 5 -Toronto 6 (OT)