TV: 7PM ET TSN, NHL-N (US)
Having finally broken their goalless drought last night against Ottawa the Leafs are rewarded by travelling to the Verizon Center tonight to face the Capitals. Washington is averaging 2.27 goals against per game to the Leafs 2.36 but Washington is scoring 3.09 goals for per game to the Leafs 2.27.
The probable starters for tonight are both young. Washington’s Michal Neuvirth is going to start getting mentioned in the Calder discussion soon if he keeps up his stat line: 11GP 7W 0.926SV% 2.15GAA. The day after a Giguere start should see the Leafs turn to Jonas Gustavsson (3GP 1W 0.921SV% 2.36GAA). Gustavsson has played well this season but hasn’t gotten a lot of support. In his two losses the Leafs scored a total of one goal.
The Leafs aren’t a team with players like Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin. The only guy wearing blue and white that can snipe like those three is Phil Kessel who is finding out that being focused on all game is a lot harder than it sounds. For the Leafs to win tonight they’ll need Kessel’s supporting cast of Tyler Bozak (1G 3A), Mikhail Grabovski (0G 5A), and Kris Versteeg (1G 2A) to start producing.
Toronto is now 1-5-1 since their 4-0-0 start. Dropping games to bubble teams like the Rangers and the Senators is disconcerting but perhaps last night showed the young Leafs what they need to do to score: control play in the opponents’ zone and score ugly goals.
What do you think Leafs Nation? Does Toronto grind out a win over a much more talented team tonight? Let us know in the comments.