Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Roundup/Gamenight: Caps @ Leafs

[AP Preview - Preview]

With wins so hard to come by in the U.S. of late, let's see if the Caps can't find a win north of the border in Toronto, shall we? After all, the ACC has been somewhat hospitable to visitors because, as Leafs blueliner Pavel Kubina put it, "[W]e make stupid mistakes at home." Here's hoping that trend continues (though it might be hard with Bryan McCabe out of the lineup).

The Leafs come into Monday night's game with a two-game win streak after a pair of three-goal wins over the Penguins and Rangers. They're second in the League in goals per game (3.83), but have the third-worst team goals against average (3.67). Surprisingly, they're scoring all those goals with a power play that has somehow been worse than the Caps', clicking only 13% of the time. They shoot a ton and give up the most shots on goal against in the League. And here's a fun fact: the Leafs have won a League-worst 25% of the games in which they've scored first (only the Leafs and Sabres have won less than half of the games in which they've registered the initial tally).

In other words, expect some high-scoring, firewagon hockey (it's a damn shame Alex Semin is likely to miss this one, isn't it?).

Then again, Olie Kolzig was 2-0-0 with a 1.51 goals against average and a .958 save percentage against the Leafs last year, while Andrew Raycroft was 2-2-0, 2.26, .916 against the Caps in 2006-07 (likely Leafs starter Vesa Toskala has never faced the Caps). The Caps offense has struggled, but the goals against is still good (especially if you throw out that Buffalo debacle).

In other words, expect some low-scoring, tight-checking hockey (it's a damn shame Chris Clark is likely to miss this one, isn't it?).

Now that my bases are thoroughly covered, I'll leave you with one thought: it's really a damn shame Bryan McCabe is likely to miss this one, isn't it?

Update: Vesa Toskala will be in net for the Leafs.

Why The Leafs Will Win:
"Because our defensive liability (McCabe) is out for the game while yours (Poti) will be playing 25 minutes." - Pension Plan Puppets
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Check out Leafs Breakfast, Leafs Lunch, and Bill Waters here.... Orland Kurtenblog (and Willie Mitchell) on AO.... The latest on Patrice Bergeron (and feel free to "Guess the Suspension" on Randy Jones).... The Times has a piece that should be read by anyone who believes that putting an NHL team in Las Vegas is a good idea.... Finally, check out Sam Gagner's game-winning shootout goal from last night. Smooth.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Corey Perry (G, A, 5 SOG, 4 hits, 2 takeaways, 0 giveaways)
  • Ross: Joes Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Corey Perry, Mikael Samuelsson (2 points each)
  • Norris: Niklas Lidstrom (A, +2, 5 SOG, 2 blocked shots, 2 takeaways, 0 giveaways)
  • Vezina: Mathieu Garon (W, 27 saves on 29 shots against in shootout win)
  • Richard: 13 players tied with 1 goal apiece
  • Calder: Andrew Cogliano (Game-tying shorthanded goal with 1:27 left, 2 SOG)
  • Aiken: Henrik Sedin (0 points, -2, 1 SOG)


The Peerless said...

We've got to stop looking at the same statistics...

ted said...

As much as I would like to believe this could be a high scoring game. I think the Caps will make whoever starts in goal for the Leafs look like a Vezina candidate.

While it's not time to hit the panic button yet, the Caps really need a win tonight. The top of the division is pulling away while the bottom is closing in on them.

BTW, I think Pettinger is due for a goal tonight.

Tyler said...

In case people have forgotten, I think every hockey fan in DC expected the Caps to draft Sam Gagner...

DMG said...

I don't think it's possible to make Toskala or Raycroft look like a Vezina candidate. I'm actually cautiously optimistic - the Leafs are pretty good but I think the skill and speed of the Caps forwards matches up well with their defense.

Joe said...

The Caps are exactly where I thought they would be after the first month. It would have been an amazing feat if they were above the .500 mark. This team is not a team yet, but the ingredients are there. I predict they will be one of the better teams in the eastern conference by the end of December.

Jan said...

Total change of subject: Bondra has announced his retirement. (
He was my all-time favorite Cap. I have never seen a player who brought more joy to his job than Peter. I wish him all the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

"why the leafs will win"

What about a section for

"why the caps will win"


you negative nancy! ;-)

JP said...

What about a section for

"why the caps will win"

Because "Because we have Ovechkin and they don't" would get old. :)

Serioulsy, though, the rest of the post tends to outline what the Caps have to do to win (as if we don't all know), so this just gives a little more flavor and maybe fires fans up a bit.

NS said...

i actually like why the other team will win section. usually get a chuckle out of it.

Wendigo34 said...

The "Why the [team x] will win" section is a great addition.

Gives you a chance to meet fans of other teams. Friendly banter, jibes, as well as learn some things about what others think of the Caps (besides the usual).

Anonymous said...

sorry guys!

didnt want to be disruptive or critical. the way you blog is JUST fine japers.

keep up the great blogging and please dont quit/stop

good luck, cheers