According to Caps Today, the Capitals face the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday in the third and final meeting between the teams this season. Washington holds a 73-57-10-6 record against Toronto all-time.Last time the teams met it was during the Caps long losing streak. Hopefully they will show the Leafs that they have turned a corner! Game time is 7 pm and will air locally on NBC Sports Washington.
The Toronto Sun reports that: “William Nylander into the injured Nazem Kadri’s spot” for tonight’s game, changing it up a bit. He has 12 points in 31 games. Also tonight: “Frederik Andersen starts in goal for the Leafs, his 300th NHL game. Babcock is changing up his defence a bit, teaming Jake Muzzin and Travis Dermott, but he cautioned the final pairings closer to playoffs are a work in progress.“
Alex Oechkin, who has 38 career goals against the Leafs, the most against a team the Capitals haven’t shared a division with since 2005-06, and two career hat tricks against Toronto, scored his 41st and 42nd goals of the season against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, marking his 10th multi-goal game this season and his 130th career game where he has scored at least two goals. With 22 Capitals games remaining in 2018-19, Alex Ovechkin is aiming to become the third player in NHL history to record 50 goals in a season at least eight times (Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy: nine). Ovechkin is the only player with at least 200 goals since the end of the 2012-13 campaign, in which he led the NHL with 32 goals over a 48-game schedule (matching the lowest goal total of his career). He has scored 43 percent of his career goals over the course of the five seasons since (278 of 649), hitting the 50-goal mark three times, winning four of five Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophies, climbing from 110th to 14th on the NHL’s all-time goals list and capturing the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy – all after celebrating his 28th birthday. Ovechkin’s average of 0.60 goals per game since the start of 2013-14 (278g in 461 games played) is just shy of his career average prior to that season (0.62 from 2005-06 to 2012-13: 371g in 601 games played). Of the 19 players with at least 600 NHL regular-season goals, only three had a goals-per-game average better than 0.55 after age 28: Bobby Hull (0.65), Mario Lemieux (0.63) and Phil Esposit
By now you know that the guy in our spotlight today has just signed a brand spanking new one-year extension with the Caps/Bears. If he plays in the NHL his contract is worth $650,000.00 as opposed to the mere $115,000 as a Bear. This really gave us some perspective on how little AHL players make in comparison to the guys in the show.
But let’s focus on the spotlight at hand. Riley was drafted in 2012 along with notable Capitals prospects Filip Forsberg (Nashville Predators), Tom Wilson (you all know where he is), Connor Carrick (Maple Leafs), and last but not least, Christian Djoos (Hershey and Capitals- he’s next up in our Hershey Spotlight).
Even though they were drafted in the same year they have traveled very different paths. The guys that have made it to the NHL permanently have stepped up in ways that we haven’t seen from Barber yet.
Barber played three years for University of Miami (Ohio) and scored an average of 18 goals per season. The numbers are a little bit deceiving though due to the length of the college hockey season. The length of a regular season is about half that of the NHL- so just think how amazing those numbers would be if they had the full 82 games to play like the NHL.
Unfortunately due to a wrist injury and accompanying surgery in the 2016 season, the numbers for Barber are a bit inconsistent in the AHL. What we do know is that Barber was number one in goals for the Bears in the 2017-18 season, which most certainly solidified his new one-year extension.
Wow what a night in Annapolis when the US Navy hosted the NHL for some hockey! It was great to see people so excited to be at the game. It was even better to see the Caps play well together and win! There is definitely something special about that place.
Here are some of our favorite tweets and IG photos from the day:
The Capitals started off slow in the first but picked up the speed enough to score two goals. That said, their shots on goal was way down–six shots the first and second period as they lagged behind the Leafs. The night before they had a total of 37 SOG against the Pens. The March schedule is going to be a tough one, but a good prep time for the playoffs. In the end, they managed to carry their third period lead to the end of the game.
First Period: Puck Trouble Leads to Scoring Glory!
The Caps began the period with what has become the normal slow start, and with a penalty that sent Brooks Oprik to the box. Thankfully the Leafs failed to make good on the man advantage. A second power play chance for the Leafs was also killed off. And suddenly the gates open up with a wrist shot by Chorney followed almost immediately by Ovi to make it 2-0 Caps. With a power play, the Caps close out the period with the lead.
Goals: Taylor Chorney assisted by TJ Oshie and Evegeny Kuznetsov; Alex Ovechkin assisted by Nicklas Backstrom and TJ Oshie.
Penalties: Brooks Orpik for delay of game; Jay Beagle for delay of game; TJ Oshie for checking Nikita Soshnikov. Frank Corrado called for tripping against Marcus Johansson.
Score: 2-0 Caps
Second Period: Lackluster Play
The Caps started the period with the remainder of their power play but did not score. The Leafs; however, scored shortly after to cut the lead in half. And, another Caps penalty, followed by a Leafs goal, and a Caps PP–great attempts but no goal on the PP. After that, things slowed down to a what seemed like a crawl on the ice. By the end of the period the Leafs were outshooting the Caps 22-12. A little tussle between Karl Alzner and Leo Kamarov as a penalty was called on Nazem Kadri for cross checking;
Goals: Nikita Soshnikov, assisted by Nazem Kadri and Matt Hunwick.
Penalties Jason Chimera for hooking, Matt Niskanen for roughing against Nikita Sosnikov who was called for interference and an extra two minutes for roughing. Nazem Kadri at the 20:00 mark for crosschecking.
Score: 2-1 Caps
Third Period: Closed the Deal The Caps started the period with a power play that the Leafs managed to block. Leafs would manage another goal to tie up the game. There were a couple of close calls in which the Leafs could have grabbed a good lead. Alzner took a wicked hit by Soshnikov into the boards which took the Caps to the PP. Niskanen successfully shoots one right past the goaltender for the Caps point advantage. 3-2 Caps
Goals: Colin Greening assisted by Peter Holland and Connor Carrick. .TJ Oshie assisted by Nicklas Backstrom and Matt Niskanen (We believe this goal was credited to Oshie although we can’t find any official record).
Penalties: Nikita Soshnikov for boarding.
Final score 3-2
Congrats to Marcus Johansson for his 400th Career NHL Game!!
And yes, it was salute Brooks Laich night. He was touched and we wiped away a tear. And let’s not forget that Connor Carrick, who has been part of this franchise for 3 years, faced his old mates too. Change is hard and the Caps will need to keep making adjustments as they draw closer to the playoffs.
By now everyone knows that the Caps traded Brooks Laich and that he, along with D-Man Connor Carrick will be in the Leafs’ line-up tonight. But it is time to move forward and tonight we should see just how this newly adjusted Caps team is doing. They still have the hurdle of the first period slump and the third period comeback to overcome. Coach continues the shifting of lines and though we have some projections, we aren’t really sure it matters much once the game starts. Here’s what to expect:
Caps Line Projections (But don’t hold us to it)
Ovechkin Backstrom Oshie
Burakovsky Kuznetsov Williams
Chimera Johansson Wilson
Winnik Richards Beagle (Galiev/Latta not likely)
We expect Grubauer in tonight backed up by Holtby
What the Leafs Bring
They have a new roster which played together for the first time on Monday. Apparently there is a strange new alliance between Brooks and William Nylander stretching back to Nylander’s dad’s (Michael) time with the Caps. Prediction is that much of this game will be determined by who does better on the power play and power-play kill. The new players make this an unpredictable team.
Soshnikov Kadri Komarov
Grabner Nylander Hyman
Boyes Holland Kapanen
Greening Smith Laich
Bernier expected in the net backed up by Sparks
Don’t forget to check us out later for great game shots on Twitter (incoldplacedc) and Instagram (friendsincoldplaces) AND tune in at 630 pm when we Periscope warmups live from Verizon Center.
We hockey fans are a passionate bunch. We wear our heart on our sleeves. We are quick to critique failure and even quicker to celebrate success. And usually we understand when a player needs to be traded from our favorite team and there is a social media buzz about the years they played with us. Caps fans have gone through some of that in the last couple of years with trades from Matt Hendricks to Mike Green. We felt the disappointment that they had to go, we wished them the best, and celebrated them in videos at Verizon Center.
And then there is Brooks Laich.
We knew his stats were slipping. We all wrote about it. We all knew there was trouble on the fourth line and that Brooks was part of the problem. We knew it was only a matter of time.
First the rumors started about trading Brooks.
Then the Caps put him on waivers.
He cleared waivers.
We attempted to explain that he could stay or he could go (to Hershey)
And then the Caps announced he was gone – a trade with Connor Carrick to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the worst team in the NHL.
Now that hurt!!
We have great memories of Brooks on and off the ice.
And the tweets late Sunday night, (because everyone was up watching the Oscars) expressed the depths of respect for Brooksie and extreme sadness that he is moving on from us. One such tweet from Anna Knox is representative of the massive tweets that went out to Brooks on Sunday and Monday.
Laich it or not, trades are a part of hockey. Ok, let’s just say the business side of this sport stinks sometimes! Losing a player such as Brooks Laich has been devastating to our hockey family here in DC . From the GM getting choked up when talking about the trade. to ourselves completely crying over the fact that Brooks will no longer be a part of the Caps! Admit it, tears were shed!!
How exactly are you supposed to handle this kind of stuff?! Our photographer Mel writes:
“Well, I thought I would write how much I appreciate Brooks and it looks like I’m not the only one. Which really makes me feel better about the fact that I’m not alone . Together we Caps fans can console each other and know that we were lucky to have Brooks with us for the past decade!”
Good luck Brooks!!
And thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
We will miss you!
Love your fans in DC
We are humbled that Brooks chose one of our photographs in his thank you post to fans. Remember to bring your tissues to the game tonight for the tribute.
The Russian Troyka: Ovechkin, Orlov, & Kuznetsov. Who scores first and who has the most points by the end of the night??
Game time is 7 pm From Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Braden Holtby is at one end; Jonathan Bernier at the other. Bernier is hoping to get his first point in the win column tonight. He is in for Leaf’s number one goalie James Reimer who is out with a lower-body injury.
The Leafs will need to defend against their old nemesis Alexander Ovechkin and the new brut force the Caps have unleashed in two other Russians: Evegeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov. In the meantime, the lower two lines are showing that they too pose a threat to opposing teams. Keep a watch on these guys.
Who to Watch:
Joffrey Lupul who has registered 22 points in 20 games against the Caps.
Can Dmitry Orlov extend his scoring streak?
Can the Caps make it five in a row and take their first win for this road series?
Justin Williams: Two points to go to reach 600 career NHL points
Karl Alzner is two games away from 400 consecutive games.