TORONTO -- When the Toronto Maple Leafs face the Washington Capitals at Air Canada Centre on Saturday night, it will mark Mikhail Grabovski’s first game in Toronto since being bought out by the Maple Leafs in July.
"Oh yeah, he's very excited," Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said about Grabovski playing against his old team. "He told me it's a strange feeling to come back in a different way, different locker room. He's excited. It's nice to see the guy who wants to improve and wants to show how good he is."
Grabovski is third on the Capitals with 19 points, trailing Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. He struggled last season with the Maple Leafs, collecting 16 points in 48 games.
"He's done a great job, he really has," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "Anytime you make a change, for him coming to a new system, new team, it takes a little while to get going. I think what really helped him was obviously opening night, he had a great night. Since then, he's fit in with his linemates and done a great job."
The Capitals held an optional morning skate following their 3-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Washington on Friday. There will be at least one change in the lineup: Eric Fehr will play and Martin Erat will be a healthy scratch.
"It was time for [Fehr] to get a game, [Erat]'s been fighting it a little bit, in my mind," Oates said. "Sometimes when you sit up top you get a fresh perspective. It's not permanent, just trying to shake it up a little bit."
Braden Holtby was the first goalie off at morning skate and figures to get the start. Michal Neuvirth took the loss against the Canadiens.
The Maple Leafs will have a couple changes to their lineup: Forward Trevor Smith will likely be out in favor of Frazer McLaren. Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said defenseman Mark Fraser was "probably very probable" to play. His return comes after missing the past two games with a lower-body injury.
Defenseman Morgan Rielly took rushes on the second power play unit during the morning skate, meaning Paul Ranger could be scratched.
James Reimer was the first goalie off and will likely start against the Capitals. Jonathan Bernier has started four of the last five games.
Here are the projected lineups for the Capitals and Maple Leafs:
Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin
Jason Chimera – Brooks Laich – Joel Ward
Eric Fehr – Mikhail Grabovski – Troy Brouwer
Aaron Volpatti – Michael Latta – Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner – John Carlson
Nate Schmidt – Mike Green
Alexander Urbom – Tyson Strachan
Scratched: Martin Erat, Jay Beagle, Steve Oleksy
Injured: John Erskine (upper body), Jack Hillen (broken leg )
James van Riemsdyk – Peter Holland – Phil Kessel
Joffrey Lupul – Nazem Kadri – David Clarkson
Mason Raymond – Jay McClement – Nikolai Kulemin
Frazer McLaren – Jerred Smithson – Colton Orr
Carl Gunnarsson – Dion Phaneuf
Jake Gardiner – Cody Franson
Mark Fraser – Morgan Rielly
Scratched: Trevor Smith, Paul Ranger
Injured: Tyler Bozak (hamstring), Dave Bolland (ankle)