The Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs are both kicking off 2017 on the right foot. Both of these hot teams will meet Tuesday
Washington is seeking their third straight win and looking to climb from fourth in the Metropolitan Division. They also have players like Justin Williams riding impressive hot streaks and are trying to prove their worth as one of the top teams in the NHL.
Toronto is on a five-game winning streak and has put up excellent numbers thanks to the help of their rather young roster. Rookie sensation Auston Matthews has 20 goals on the season after a two-goal performance at the Centennial Classic Sunday. Frederik Anderson has also been excellent in net, and this team is finally starting to look like a potential playoff squad.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals
Verizon Center- 7:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – CSNMA, TVA
2016-17 Season Series:
Nov. 26- Capitals 2 Maple Leafs 4
Washington Capitals – 22-9-5, 49 Points
Home Record: 13-5-1
Hot Players: Justin Williams, Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby
Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams
Jakub Vrana-Lars Eller-Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik-Jay Beagle-Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner-John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov- Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik-Taylor Chorney
Toronto Maple Leafs – 17-12-7, 41 Points
Away Record: 7-6-5
Hot Players: Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Jake Gardiner
Key Injuries: Joffrey Lupul, Nathan Horton, Martin Marincin, Ben Smith
Leo Komarov-Nazem Kadri-William Nylander
Zach Hyman-Auston Matthews-Connor Brown
James Van Riemsdyk-Tyler Bozak-Mitchell Marner
Matt Martin-Frederik Gauthier-Nikita Soshnikov
Morgan Rielly-Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner-Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick-Roman Polak
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Washington made some changes to its top six, promoting Alex Ovechkin to the first line. The Russian winger seems to be getting his goal-scoring touch back and has points in three of his last five games. Of late, however, he seems to show less chemistry with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams and may benefit by being reunified with Nicklas Backstrom on the top unit.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Auston Matthews is riding an impressive six-game point streak, and has taken the rookie scoring lead from Patrik Laine. He not only leads Toronto but is often the game-deciding factor for the Maple Leafs, taking matters into his own hands. If Washington wants to end Toronto’s streak, they need to end Matthews’ as well.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]Taylor Chorney had a goal and an overall outstanding game Sunday against the Senators. Becuase of that, he will be rewarded with a jersey against Toronto and will draw in over defenseman Nate Schmidt. It is interesting to see the Capitals’ usage of Chorney, because his schedule with the Capitals may just push him to be better.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]Frederik Andersen will start between the pipes for Toronto and has been excellent in net of late. He is on a four-game win streak, and over that span has a 1.75 GAA and .955 save percentage. Braden Holtby will get the nod for the Capitals and has a .958 save mark over his last five games, but has just two victories to show for that time.
Sammi Silber covers the Capitals beat for The Hockey Writers and is an NHL contributor with Sporting News. She has also contributed to USA TODAY College, Huffington Post, FanSided and the Nation Network. Silber has written four books and recently worked on graphics for the film, The California Golden Seals Movie.