The Washington Capitals have no time to dwell on what happened against the San Jose Sharks last night. In what looked like a sure win, the Sharks had other plans with a second on the clock in regulation. Evander Kane got enough on a puck in front of a gaping wide open net to tie things up with 1 second on the clock. Tomas Hertl added his 3rd goal of the evening in overtime to give the Sharks a crazy 7-6 win.
Everything happened so quickly for the Sharks, who stole 2 points in Washington. The Capitals watched what might be a point they need later in the season go out the window. Braden Holtby is going to the All-Star Game, but that did not resemble anything of an All-Star. He was also benched against the Blackhawks after allowing 4 goals, so it hasn’t been the best week for Holtby going into the break. He will have time to regroup with a break coming up, though. Phoenix Copley is likely going to be manning the crease tonight for the Capitals in Toronto.
While the Capitals had to endure their sixth straight loss in dramatic fashion, the Leafs dropped two in a row and four of their last five with a loss against the Coyotes on Sunday. It was another below average performance from the Leafs, who are still looking for traction in all three areas of the ice since William Nylander has returned.
Mike Babcock sent him to the fourth line to try and get him going, but that hasn’t worked, at least not yet. In any case, the offence is way better than what they’ve been portraying recently. On paper they are stacked in the regard. It’s only January, though, and I’d be surprised if they continue to slump as we proceed. A fortunate bounce or two for Nylander could be what he needs. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Capitals respond tonight after what happened last night. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Maple Leafs pick.
Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Pick
The Capitals will have to find a way to bounce back from that loss last night. Luckily, the All-Star break is going to be on the other side of this game. Leaving for the break after a loss like that would have been even worse, so it might be for the better that they get back out on the ice tonight. Wasting an Ovechkin hat trick on a loss is never fun. At the end of the day, though, they still got a point out of it, which is better than nothing.
Copley has been okay as a backup, with a 2.98 GAA and 0.903 save percentage. Fine for a backup goaltender in the NHL, but he has been getting hammered recently. It’s been four starts since he’s had a save percentage above 0.90 in a game. In his last three starts, Copley has allowed 14 goals for an average of 4.6 goals per game. He will be seeking his first win in net since January 8th. If they do go with Holtby again tonight, his struggles have been well documented lately. Given that there is a break on the horizon, they may choose to give him an opportunity to bounce right back.
While the Capitals hope to find some relief in Toronto, their defensive effort on the road hasn’t been anything to gloat about. The Caps have allowed an average of 3.46 goals per game on the road, though have scored 3.42 goals per game. Their offensive numbers in fact improve as visitors.
Note that the Leafs have allowed 3.2 goals per game in their previous ten outings, while the Caps have given up 3.7 per game. The OVER has gone 7-2 in their last nine meetings in Toronto. Both of these teams are struggling at the moment, but somebody is going to be going into the All-Star break with a win. I see a 4-3 game in this one.