Preview: Capitals at Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs have tumbled into a tailspin that has seen them drop seven of their last 10 games overall and six of seven at home. The Maple Leafs likely won’t receive much sympathy on Wednesday when they host the Washington Capitals, who have lost a season-high six in a row (0-4-2) and surrendered at least seven goals in three of their last four contests.
Auston Matthews is mired in an offensive funk, as the 21-year-old has just one goal in his last 13 games and three assists along with a minus-11 rating in his past seven. Matthews, however, has found success versus Washington as he boosted his point total to six (two goals, four assists) in six encounters after scoring and setting up a goal in Toronto’s 4-2 win on Oct. 13. Three-time Hart Trophy recipient Alex Ovechkin set up goals by countryman Evgeny Kuznetsov and Chandler Stephenson in that contest and registered his third hat trick of the season – 23rd of his career – in Tuesday’s 7-6 overtime loss to San Jose. The Capitals, who allowed the tying goal in the final second of regulation before falling in overtime, will look to avoid losing seven in a row for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, TVA, Sportsnet, Sportsnet 360, (Toronto)
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (27-16-6): T.J. Oshie scored one goal and set up two others against the Sharks to boost his point total to 10 (four goals, six assists) in his last eight games. Nicklas Backstrom had an assist in the first meeting with Toronto and set up a pair of goals on Tuesday to lift his total to 37, one shy of defenseman John Carlson for the team lead. The 29-year-old Carlson set up Oshie’s first-period goal against San Jose and has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last eight games.
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (29-17-2): William Nylander, who has just one goal in 20 games, posted his first point since Jan. 3 when he set up defenseman Travis Dermott’s first-period tally in Sunday’s 4-2 setback to Arizona. The assist was the 22-year-old Nylander’s third in 20 contests this season after he recorded 41 in 82 games in 2017-18. Offense hasn’t been an issue for John Tavares, who reached the 30-goal plateau for the fifth time in his career on Sunday when he scored in the third period.
1. Toronto F Mitch Marner has four goals and two assists in his last six games.
2. Washington G Pheonix Copley likely will get the nod on Wednesday and bid for his first win since Jan. 8, when he turned aside 37 shots in a 5-3 victory versus Philadelphia.
3. Maple Leafs G Frederik Andersen (21-11-1) is just 9-7-0 at home this season despite sporting a 2.28 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.