The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Washington Capitals tonight at Air Canada Centre in what will be there third meeting this season. Each team has won once.
As it stands, both clubs are on the outside of the playoff picture with 65 points and trailing the eighth-place Florida Panthers by one in the standings.
For Toronto, getting off to the right start is imperative. They have not held a lead after the first 20 minutes in the first two games of their current homestand and ended up losing both contests by one goal.
“That’s what we need tonight, is to be aggressive right off the bat and take it to them as quickly as possible, not wait.” coach Ron Wilson said. “We’ve got to initiate things, especially with Washington and us in the (same) proximity in the standings and the fact they played last night.”
Wilson also confirmed that James Reimer would start in goal for the second straight game.
Joffrey Lupul, the Leafs second-leading scorer, acknowledged that opponents have been looking to mitigate Toronto’s speed, something which has contributed to their recent woes.
“It’s something we got to be prepared for, we might not get 15 or 20 scoring chances in a game but we have to be ready to score when we do," Lupul said. "On the other hand we have to limit other team’s chances. These guys are a team with a lot of top end talent. We want to try and limit Ovechkin and Semin in their time and space.”
Leafs forward Darryl Boyce and was claimed off waivers by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Boyce had a goal and an assist in 17 games for Toronto this season. Fellow forward Jay Rosehill cleared waivers and was sent to Toronto’s AHL Affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.
The moves made room for the Maple Leafs to call up forward Matt Frattin, who will play tonight. The rookie has 10 points in 37 games with the Leafs so far this season. Forward Colby Armstrong will also play tonight.
After a 4-1 win Friday against Montreal, the Capitals had only four players on the ice for the morning skate. Goalie Tomas Vokoun was on the ice but Michal Neurvirth is expected to start for the second straight night after stopping 30 shots for the victory Friday.