Capitals Vs. Maple Leafs: Live Stream, Preview, Broadcast Info


Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals will be looking to create some momentum Saturday night in their bout against Mike Babcock’s Toronto Maple Leafs following Thursday night’s 4-1 drubbing of the Boston Bruins.

The Washington Capitals will finish their brief two-game homestand Saturday night when they play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs (2-8-2) will be eager to get a new start in November after winning only one game in the month of October. They’ll need to do so without the services of backup netminder Jonathan Bernier who was placed on Injured Reserve this past Thursday.

The Leafs are off to another slow start to their season and are firmly entrenched in the cellar of the Atlantic Division once again. While catching the 1st place Montreal Canadiens (25 points) may already be out of reach for Babcock’s Leafs, they’ll be looking to gain some footing within the division when they square off with the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

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The back-to-back games combined with the overnight trip to play the Capitals in Washington on Saturday is hardly a favorable scenario for the struggling Maple Leafs. The Capitals, winners of eight of their last ten, will be well rested by comparison having spent the previous four days at home. The combination should make for ideal conditions for the Capitals who are looking to horde points to keep up with the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins and first place tied New York Rangers.

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While the Capitals have had no trouble cracking the Toronto Maple Leaf nut in their recent contests under Trotz (2-1 in their 3 games), the Leafs are certainly capable of playing the spoiler role. In their contest against Washington last November, the Maple Leafs scorched an exhausted Caps club 6-2 following a back-to-back game night stint for Ovechkin and company against the Islanders. This time – the tables will be turned.

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Historically speaking, the Maple Leafs have been a team defined by their speed. With several of their forwards now in their late twenties and early thirties, that may be decelerating. With fresh legs, we can expect Trotz’ Capitals to be beating Toronto to loose pucks and hemming the Leafs into their own zone. If they can manage that, the Leafs struggling defense (which has allowed three or more goals in each of their last six contests) will again have their hands full.

Speed will be key to nipping Toronto’s chances before they bloom. Also key will be the Capitals’ special teams efforts, which snapped a 10 chance scoring drought against Boston on Thursday. At 73.7% effectiveness (third worst in NHL), Toronto’s penalty killing has had significant trouble getting started. I predict we see two goals notched on the Power Play for Washington and the statistical anomaly of the last several games begin to reverse.

Statistically speaking – Toronto is not a good team. They’re in the bottom third of the league in Shots Against (Washington leads the NHL at 302). They’re third to last in number of goals scored with 26 (Washington has 40). Toronto also sports the fifth worst goal differential at -12 (Washington is +11). By the numbers, the Washington Capitals should be able to dominate the Maple Leafs.

Leo Komarov and Joffrey Lupul likely have contrasting opinions on that. Playing on the first and third lines respectively for the Maple Leafs, they lead the team in scoring with five goals each on the early season. Both have shown a nose for the net with help from some new linemates. For Komarov, the designation to the top line with James Van Reimsdyk and Nazem Kadri is a fresh start and has had sparks of brilliant play, although they’ve not been consistent. 

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According to our friends over at Editor In Leaf, it’s rumored that Van Reimsdyk may be on his way out of town to the Anaheim Ducks. The 26-year old has struggled so far this season along with Kadri – the latter earning excuses from coach Babcock on the slow start to the season.

Lupul shares a line with Daniel Winnik and Nick Spaling, who both came to Toronto from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Phil Kessel trade. With a lot of moving parts in new head coach Mike Babcock’s system, Toronto’s struggles are understandable. If the losses from the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins have shown us anything positive about the Capitals, it is that it will take multiple lines playing great hockey in rotation to beat the Caps’ defense.   Toronto doesn’t have that at the moment. Compounding their woes, the goaltending efforts from the Maple Leafs’ stable of netminders have been sub par. As mentioned, Jonathan Bernier (.899 SV%, 3.02 GAA) will miss at least the game against Washington on injured reserve after suffering an undisclosed lower-body injury and his replacement, Antoine Bibeau may see his first action in the NHL as the next man up for the team. Leafs’ primary goalie James Reimer (.908 SV%, 2.82 GAA) is expected in net. Game: Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals When: Saturday, November 7th at 7:00 PM EST Where: Verizon Center, Washington D.C. TV Info: CSN Washington, CBC Radio Info: Capitals Radio 24/7, Caps Radio Network, Caps Mobile App Live Stream: NHL Gamecenter  

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We’ll continue to break down our coverage of the game against the Maple Leafs and highlight what we think will be the keys to winning – along with a breakdown of who you should be watching. Stay tuned!

Let’s Go Caps!