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Maple Leafs at Capitals preview

Toronto, Washington have yet to lose outdoors entering Stadium Series game at Naval Academy

by Brian McNally / Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (39-20-7) vs. CAPITALS (36-21-7)



The Game

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals will play in the 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, on Saturday. It's the first NHL outdoor game played at a service academy.

Neither team has lost an outdoor game. The Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in the 2011 NHL Winter Classic and won 3-1 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Winter Classic. The Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout in the 2014 Winter Classic and 5-4 in overtime in the 2017 Centennial Classic.

Washington is tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Maple Leafs are in third place in the Atlantic Division, one point behind the Boston Bruins.


Players to watch

Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past four games.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is within a hat trick of his 600th NHL goal. Ovechkin would be the 20th player to score 600. He leads the NHL this season with 39.


They said it

"It would have been nice to get out there and get the Zamboni out there and everything would be done, but it's not and that's just the way it is. Whatever the ice conditions, wind conditions, all that stuff, it'll be the same for both teams and it'll be a good game." -- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on the windy conditions in Annapolis

"This is going to be my third [outdoor game], and I have experience about it. I always have fun. It doesn't matter that the ice is bad because the atmosphere is unbelievable. You have energy from the fans and you go and play." -- Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Patrick Marleau -- Nazem Kadri -- Mitchell Marner

Zach Hyman -- Tomas Plekanec -- William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Connor Brown

Leo Komarov -- Dominic Moore -- Kasperi Kapanen

Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Travis Dermott -- Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Matt Martin, Connor Carrick, Josh Leivo

Injured: Auston Matthews (shoulder)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- T.J. Oshie

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Andre Burakovsky

Chandler Stephenson -- Jay Beagle -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Michal Kempny -- John Carlson

Brooks Orpik -- Christian Djoos

Philipp Grubauer

Braden Holtby

Scratched : Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek, Alex Chiasson , Travis Boyd

Injured: None


Status report

Matthews, Toronto's leading goal-scorer (28), will miss his fourth straight game but Babcock said he's skating every day. … Djoos returns to the lineup after being scratched Tuesday for the first time since Nov. 22.


Stat pack

The Maple Leafs have won 30 games when scoring first, tied for second in the League. Andersen is 3-0-1 in his past four starts with a 2.17 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage. … … Ovechkin needs one goal for his ninth 40-goal season. Holtby has lost an NHL career-high six straight games (0-4-2, 5.20 goals-against average, .851 save percentage).

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