Last night the Capitals rebounded off of their 3 game losing streak and beat the Canadiens 4-1 in downtown DC. The Caps even looked like their old selves for a minute in the 2nd period, scoring 2 goals 16 seconds apart. Matthieu Perrault, Jason Chimera, and Alex Ovechkin all beat Carey Price and Joel Ward got an empty netter to break his goalless slump. Michal Neuvirth was solid in net with the only goal surrendered being the result of poor defensive play by the Caps power play. Chimmer was a player who really stood out and was flying last night and causing havoc for the Habs. It was a game the Capitals couldn't afford to lose and they came out and played like that was the case.
Tonight the Caps leave the friendly ice of Verizon Center where they are 20-8-2 and hit the road where they've gone 10-18-3. The Maple Leafs are 16-10-5 at home and earlier this year pasted the Capitals 7-1 at the Air Canada Centre. The 2 teams have actually split their meetings this year with the home team taking both games. In the winning effort the Caps got goals from Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, and 2 from Dennis Wideman while Tomas Vokoun was solid stopping 26 of 28 Maple Leaf shots. Brooks Laich also scored the only goal for the Caps when they got destroyed in Toronto 7-1, needless to say the Caps net-minding was not as solid that time around.
Tonight is also a match-up of 2 teams who are tied for 9th in the Eastern Conference 1 point out of the final playoff spot. This game is huge for both especially with the trade deadline just around the corner, it could determine if they're buyers or sellers. Tonight should be an all out battle where the two teams will have to fight and claw and do everything they can to gain an incredibly important 2 points. For the viewers this should be an entertaining night of all out give everything for the team hockey, the team who gives an inch first will be the team that falls.
The goal-tending match-up tonight will see the Maple Leafs send James Reimer to the net he has a 0-1-1 career record against the Caps with a 2.90 GAA, and a .909 SV%. For the Capitals you have to think coach Dale Hunter will ride the hot goaltender and send Michal Neuvirth to the crease, Neuvirth has a 2-1-1 record against the Leafs with a 3.94 GAA, and a .847%. Not flattering numbers for Neuvy but his play last night was tremendous and with the Caps neither goalie is a sure bet so go with the one currently playing the best.
PLAYERS TO WATCH TONIGHT:
Brooks Laich - Laich has scored in each of the previous meetings this year so why not choose him?
Cody Franson - Franson has 4 goals this year......2 of them came against the Caps......nuff said!