The Toronto Maple Leafs continue their current five-game road trip today with a matinée contest in Washington.
Toronto will be looking for its third win on the road trip (ensuring a finish above .500) while the Alexander Ovechkin-led Capitals will be looking to build some late momentum in their push for the playoffs. Washington sits three points back of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference right now, but with only 14 games left in their season, time is running out to close the gap and build some cushion.
We all know the story on Washington: their offence is primarily fuelled by Ovechkin, who leads the team and league in goals. The “Great Eight” has already recorded 45 goals in 64 games this season and it seems safe to say he’ll earn his fourth Maurice Richard Trophy when the season finally concludes. (Corey Perry, the next highest goal scorer, has notched 36 goals in 68 games.)
There is one drawback to Ovechkin’s high offensive output, however, and this is where the Leafs hope to capitalize. Ovechkin is part of a three-way tie for the second worse +/- in the league. Sitting at -29, it’s clear that he’s abandoned the defensive side of the game.
Answering for Toronto, Phil Kessel is currently tied for second overall in points. He has 73 points (34 goals, 38 assists) in 68 games, and the chemistry between him, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk on the top line has been a key part of the Leafs’ success this season. There’s no reason to think they’ll slowdown today.
For fans, this means we might have a high-octane game on our hands this afternoon – one full of offence, fancy plays and quick action. Both teams want the two points (Toronto wants to pad its playoff cushion) so they’ll likely come at each other hard.
If true, can you think of a better way to spend you Sunday afternoon?
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