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game preview

Maple Leafs at Capitals preview

Toronto eyes third straight win; Samsonov to make first home start for Washington

by Harvey Valentine / Independent Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (4-2-1) at CAPITALS (3-2-2)



The Game

The Toronto Maple Leafs will go for their third consecutive victory when they visit the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Wednesday.

The Maple Leafs will play the second half of a back to back following a 4-2 victory against the Minnesota Wild at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday. Forward Mitchell Marner (one goal, two assists) and defenseman Morgan Rielly (four assists) combined for seven points in the second period.

Goalie Michael Hutchinson is expected to make his second start of the season; he made 37 saves in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 5.

The Capitals are 1-2-2 in their past five games and will try to win at home for the first time this season (0-1-2).

Rookie goalie Ilya Samsonov, who replaced Braden Holtby in the first period of a 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, will make his first home start.


Players to watch 

Maple Leafs center John Tavares has three points (two goals, one assist) in a three-game point streak and has 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) in 37 games against Washington.

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has six points (four goals, two assists) in a four-game point streak and has 68 points (39 goals, 29 assists) in 48 games against Toronto.


They said it

"It's always tough going back-to-back with travel. But there's no excuse to not be ready. We've got a great staff here and we're going to do whatever we have to do to get ready." -- Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly

"He's a rookie goaltender and finding his way. We've liked how he's played so far and just thought it was the right decision to get him back in there for us tonight." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden on goalie Ilya Samsonov


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Kasperi Kapanen -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Andreas Johnsson -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Ilya Mikheyev -- Alexander Kerfoot -- Trevor Moore

Dmytro Timashov -- Nicholas Shore -- Frederik Gauthier

Morgan Rielly -- Cody Ceci

Jake Muzzin -- Tyson Barrie

Martin Marincin -- Justin Holl

Michael Hutchinson

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: Nic Petan, Jason Spezza, Kevin Gravel

Injured: Zach Hyman (knee), Travis Dermott (shoulder)


Capitals projected lineup

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

Carl Hagelin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Lars Eller -- Garnet Hathaway

Brendan Leipsic -- Chandler Stephenson -- Richard Panik

Jonas Siegenthaler -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Radko Gudas

Nick Jensen -- Tyler Lewington

Ilya Samsonov

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Nic Dowd

Injured: Michal Kempny (hamstring)


Status report

The Maple Leafs did not hold a morning skate. … Reirden shuffled all four lines, including moving Oshie up with Ovechkin and Backstrom, and moving Hagelin and Kuznetsov up to form a second line with Wilson. … Reirden said he's hopeful Kempny can return against the New York Rangers on Friday.


Stat pack 

Toronto coach Mike Babcock will pass Darryl Sutter (1,285) for sole possession of 13th place on the NHL all-time games-coached list. … Carlson has eight points (two goals, six assists) in a four-game point streak. … Backstrom has 40 points (eight goals, 32 assists) in 39 games against the Maple Leafs.

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