Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Caps/Maple Leafs Preview

Washington Capitals (24-30-12, 60 points)
Toronto Maple Leafs (31-26-9, 71 points)

Television: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: WTNT 570-AM
Gametime: 7:30 PM ET

The Capitals limp into Tuesday night's game in Toronto having lost 13 of their last 15 games on the road. However, they should get some much needed reinforcements back into their lineup.

Captain Chris Clark announced on Comcast SportsNet's Postgame Live after Saturday's loss at home to the Islanders his intentions to return for the game. He will be joined by defenseman Mike Green and winger Alexandre Giroux who were both recalled from Hershey on Monday, and center Kris Beech who was declared ready to play by team officials despite leaving the team's last game in the second period after he took a blocked shot off his knee.

Tuesday Morning Edit: The Washington Post is reporting that Chris Clark is ill and did not make the trip.

Mike Vogel is reporting that there is some talk of giving Frederic Cassivi his first NHL start of the season tonight. He appeared in two games this past week, both in relief of starting goaltender Brent Johnson. If Johnson gets the call instead, it will be his 10th straight start which would surpass Olie Kolzig's longest stretch of 9 straight earlier in the year.

This is a key game for the Maple Leafs as they find themselves tied with the New York Rangers for 10th place in the Eastern Conference just two points behind the 8th place Carolina Hurricanes. They spent their Monday preparing for the Capitals in a unique fashion, practicing outdoors in -20 degree weather while entertaining about 250 school children. Their longtime captain Mats Sundin described the experience as reported on TSN.ca. "We have a huge game (Tuesday) and a little break in the routine is all right. It was tough conditions out there with the wind and everything but it's great to come out and meet the fans."

Toronto will most likely be without their all-star defenseman Tomas Kaberle who suffered a concussion in last Friday's game against the Devils after he was the victim of a late hit to the head by tough guy Cam Janssen. The Toronto Star is reporting that his symptoms are no better or worse at the moment and that the team hopes he will be able to return to the lineup in 7 to 10 days. In his place the Maple Leafs are expecting the return of Pavel Kubina who has missed the past 5 games with a broken finger. He practiced fully with the team yesterday and only needs final approval from the medical staff in order to play.

Washington and Toronto have split their two meetings earlier in the season as each team won in the other's building. Toronto won the first meeting November 24th 7-1 before the Capitals won the rematch a month later 3-2.

Down on the Farm:

The Hershey Bears announced they have recalled forwards Matt Reid and Stephen Werner to replace Giroux and Green. Reid was briefly recalled to the AHL last week for one game by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He currently leads the Stingrays with 22 goals on the season. Werner has been in South Carolina since being demoted back on December 6th. While with the Stingrays he tallied 9 goals and 6 assists in 24 games.

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