Skip to Main Content
game preview

5 Keys: Maple Leafs at Capitals, Game 2

Washington needs better start; Toronto to lean on goalie Frederik Andersen again

by Katie Brown / Correspondent


7 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports, CSN-DC

Washington leads best-of-7 series 1-0

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals will look to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Confernce First Round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday after Tom Wilson scored 5:15 into overtime for a 3-2 win in Game 1 at Verizon Center on Thursday.

Here are 5 keys for Game 2:


1. Better start

Mitchell Marner scored 1:35 into Game 1, and Washington trailed 2-0 before the first period ended. The Capitals understandably were not happy with their start, and a few players admitted that Toronto's intensity from the start was a little surprising. Though they weren't rattled by trailing early, Washington doesn't want to repeat those mistakes.

"There was a lot of looseness in our game, especially early," coach Barry Trotz said. "We've got to get that fixed up and tightened up. If we come out with the urgency that we need tonight, then hopefully you'll see a more complete game and go from there."

Video: TOR@WSH, Gm1: Marner lays out to open the scoring


2. Activated defense

Washington's defensemen are encouraged to jump into a play when they see an opportunity, and Kevin Shattenkirk was a prime example of that in Game 1. Shattenkirk led the Capitals with nine shots on goal and challenged the net at every opportunity.

The Maple Leafs will need to be aware of Washington's offensive-minded defensemen at even strength and on the power play. They must limit odd-man rushes, where players like Shattenkirk thrive.


3. Frederik Andersen

Andersen made saves on 41 of 44 shots in Game 1 and was key to keeping the Capitals from pulling ahead when they mounted a comeback, including two saves on Shattenkirk in the third period and a big stop on Brooks Orpik in overtime. Both of Justin Williams' goals in Game 1 followed some confusion in front of Andersen, and the Capitals want to do more of that in Game 2.

"Obviously some tough bounces on the goals, but that stuff happens in playoff hockey," Andersen said. "It's just a matter of moving on and facing the next shot is going to be the most important thing for me, and that's the most important thing no matter what the result was in the last game. It's a new game and you have to put it in the memory bag and wipe the slate clean."

Video: TOR@WSH, Gm1: Andersen stones Shattenkirk twice


4. Top-line production

Washington's top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie was held without an even-strength point in Game 1, but Trotz isn't concerned. Oshie had an assist on the power play. That line was deployed against some tough competition, but all three agreed they could do better. Trotz doesn't want to make too much out of one game without production and expects the line to break through.

"We played one game," Trotz said. "We won. So I think we're making too much of a big deal about nothing right now. Let's let the series go on here. Let's give them a chance."


5. Matchups

Trotz said before Game 1 he wasn't worried about matching lines with the Maple Leafs, but when the Capitals trailed by two goals in the first period, he changed his mind. Evgeny Kuznetsov's line was deployed predominantly against Auston Matthews' line for most of the rest of the game. Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock matched center Nazem Kadri's line against Ovechkin's line. Now that each coach has an idea of what worked, he will be looking to perfect those matchups in Game 2.


Maple Leafs projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Connor Brown

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Matt Martin -- Brian Boyle -- Kasperi Kapanen

Morgan Rielly -- Matt Hunwick

Jake Gardiner -- Roman Polak

Martin Marincin -- Connor Carrick

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Alexey Marchenko, Ben Smith, Josh Leivo

Injured: Eric Fehr (hand/arm), Nikita Soshnikov (undisclosed), Nikita Zaitsev (upper body)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Andre Burakovsky

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Taylor Chorney, Paul Carey, Nate Schmidt

Injured: None


Status report

Zaitsev is expected to miss his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury.


Who's hot

Van Riemsdyk has four points (three goals, one assist) and 19 shots on goal in his past three games. … Williams has seven points (four goals, three assists) during a four-game point streak dating to April 4.

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.