Toronto Maple Leafs host Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals

Mike Smith January 31, 2013 4

Toronto Maple Leafs need two points tonight

The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to hold Alex Ovechkin to his already paltry statistical abyss; one goal and one assist with a minus – rating.  With the Capitals on a slide that resembles that of a Toronto Maple Leaf standings nose dive of a year ago; this is an important game for both teams.  The Washington Capitals have mustered just one win in this early NHL season, while the Toronto Maple Leafs have held down just three wins.  These two points tonight represent a team that could climb up and gain some momentum in the standings or one that needs to get out of the basement.

Washington Capitals Ted Leonis

Over on Yahoo my favorite blogger outside of my domain here is Puck Daddy, and he had Ted Leonis owner of the Washington Capitals calling out Alex Ovechkin on his WOTP Radio Show Wednsday.  Take a look at some of the transcript here.

Some interesting points being made by Owner Ted Leonis including this one;

“You know, he gets double-teamed all the time. He has to keep moving. That’s the one thing I’ve noticed when he doesn’t have a good game – he seems to be more stationary,” said Leonsis.

Toronto Maple Leafs need to pressure Ovechkin

If the Washington Capitals put Ovechkin on a line with Mike Ribeiro I would like to the Maple Leafs counter with Matt Frattin on the ice and use speed to neutralize the pair.  Ribeiro is on the outside of 30 years of age this year and even though he has been productive this year, the jump in his game isn’t strong as years past.  Utilizing Matt Frattin or Nazem Kadri to pester him might draw a power play or two out of the line.

If the Capitals don’t put a strong checking line on Ovechkin then the pressure will need to be focused on the Jason Chimera, Joel Ward and Ribeiro line.  That line has been nothing less than productive for the Capitals providing the team with scoring and some shimmer of hope in this already dismal season for them.

Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals

[Getty Images] Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are in Toronto at the ACC to play the Toronto Maple Leafs

The key to a strong effort out of the youngsters of the Toronto Maple Leafs will be pushing the play in the neutral zone and not letting Alex Ovechkin to get wound up.  Cutting off his speed is the ingredient that adds to a Toronto Maple Leaf victory tonight.  Whomever Toronto Maple Leaf Coach Randy Carlyle decides to put up against Alex Ovechkin, it should make for an entertaining game.
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