Rookie phenom leads Toronto into battle

Rookie phenom leads Toronto into battle 

Washington is in the midst of a brutal stretch in the schedule. Can Alex Ovechkin & Co. dig deep to fend off the Maple Leafs shortly?

The two Eastern Conference combatants drop the puck at 7 p.m. ET in the Great White North. Online sports book gives the Capitals odds of -110 to emerge victorious. Mike Babcock’s crew, on the other hand, represents a +110 underdog.

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Metropolitan Division heavyweight Washington (13-5-2) will be playing its third game in four nights, having vanquished Buffalo on Friday. Philipp Grubauer stopped 32 of 33 shots, improving his record to 3-1-1 on the year. No. 1 netminder Braden Holtby should draw this evening’s assignment, though, as he pursues career win No. 160.

For the host team, Frederik Andersen returns to the crease after missing Wednesday’s 5-4 shootout loss to New Jersey. Toronto (8-8-4) blew a three-goal advantage in that affair, continuing a season-long pattern. Babcock would also like to see Auston Matthews bust out of a prolonged slump. The first overall selection in June’s draft has just two tallies in his past 14 contests.

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Flying in the face of conventional wisdom, we’ll gravitate toward the Maple Leafs here. The Caps are overdue for a clunker and may already have their sights set on next week’s bout big bout vs. Tampa Bay. Let the good times roll at Air Canada Centre, eh?




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