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Match Preview: Maple Leafs vs. Capitals

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs


TEAM UPDATES

The Leafs will look to bounce back after a loss in Montreal on Saturday night when they take on the Washington Capitals on Sunday. James Reimer is probable to start the game but Jonathan Bernier has not been ruled out for the Leafs.

Toronto had stretches of strong play in Montreal but costly turnovers took their toll on the end result, leading to an early 2-0 deficit. A controversial third goal for the Canadiens all but sealed it before they added an empty net goal late.

Tonight's game will be the Leafs' final game before Monday's trade deadline.

"We're well aware of it as coaches," said Leafs assistant coach Steve Staios. "As a player, when you're going through it, during the day is not that comfortable. You're always thinking about what that next call may be."

The Leafs made a roster move on Sunday, claiming defenceman Tim Erixon off waivers from the Blackhawks. His status is unconfirmed for Sunday.

Braden Holtby is expected to get the start for the Capitals. He has been one of the top goaltenders in the NHL this season, sporting a 29-15-9 record with a 2.20 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.

The Capitals also made a move on Sunday afternoon, acquiring Curtis Glencross from the Calgary Flames for a pair of draft picks. Earlier this week they picked up Tim Gleason in a trade with Carolina as well.

RECENT RESULTS

The Leafs enter Sunday's contest coming off of a tough 4-0 loss in Montreal on Saturday night. Jonathan Bernier took the loss in goal for Toronto who are 3-6-1 in their last 10.

Toronto is 7-19-5 on the road this season.

The Capitals are 5-5-0 in their last 10 but have dropped three straight games in regulation. On Friday they were shut out by the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh.

The Capitals are 17-8-5 at home this season and 8-1-1 in their last 10 against Toronto in Washington.

LAST MEETING

The Capitals took the last meeting between these two teams by a 6-2 score and earn some revenge on the Leafs who took their first game by a 6-2 score of their own. Brooks Laich had the winner for Washington at Air Canada Centre while Braden Holtby earned the win in goal.

The season series is tied with each team winning one game.

ONE TO WATCH

Eric Fehr

Alex Ovechkin. Nicklas Backstrom. John Carlson. All very impactful players for the Washington Capitals that you know will be a factor in any game that they play and wholly unoriginal selections in this space.

Fehr frequently flies under the radar with his contributions because of the many big name players on the Capitals roster, but his efforts are invaluable to their group as a whole. While he does not score at the clip Ovechkin does, Fehr is a reliable finisher nonetheless. His career shooting percentage hovers around 10 per cent - above League average - and he is closing in on 20 goals for the season.

Where Fehr is arguably most valuable is his ability to shut down opposing lines. He is one of the Caps' top shot suppressors among forwards and plays all three zones down the middle of the ice well. He may not offer the same name brand recognition many of their players do, but Fehr will provide quality minutes down the middle of the ice in all three zones and be a threat to score.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Capitals...

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

21 van Riemsdyk - 42 Bozak - 81 Kessel

19 Lupul - 43 Kadri - 18 Panik

47 Komarov - 11 Jokinen - 20 Booth

22 Sill - 24 Holland - 67 Kozun

Defence

3 Phaneuf - 55 Holzer

44 Rielly - 46 Polak

51 Gardiner - 12 Robidas

Goaltenders

34 Reimer

45 Bernier

Washington Capitals

Forwards

8 Ovechkin - 19 Backstorm - 90 Johansson

65 Burakovsky - 92 Kuznetsov - 20 Brouwer

25 Chimera - 16 Fehr - 24 Ward

21 Laich - 46 Latta - 43 Wilson

Defence

44 Orpik - 74 Carlson

27 Alzner - 2 Niskanen

6 Gleason - 52 Green

Goaltenders

70 Holtby

35 Peters

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