LGP 32: Sammy vs. Ovi

Leafs battle against the Flames Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Leafs had a rather stale performance against the Rangers on Thursday night. Even though that was their first game playing that poorly in over a month, I’m sure they will be eager to move back into the win column tonight. That won’t be easy, though, as the Capitals have been playing some decent hockey lately, largely thanks to superstar Ovechkin. Tonight, it’s Ovechkin versus Samsonov as he looks to shut down his former teammate and continue to make the Capitals regret letting Samsonov walk.

Leafs Projected Lineup

Forwards

Bunting – Matthews – Nylander

Malgin – Tavares – Marner

Kerfoot – Kämpf – Engvall

Aston-Reese – Holmberg – Anderson

Defense

Giordano – Holl

Sandin – Liljegren

Brodie – Timmins

Goalies

Samsonov

Murray

Capitals Projected Lineup

Forwards

Ovechkin – Strome – Sheary

Milano – Kuznetsov – Mantha

Johanssen – Eller – Oshie

Protas – Dowd – Hathaway

Defense

Gustafsson – Carlsson

Orlov – Jensen

Irwin – van Riemsdyk

Goalies

Lindgren

Shepard

Three Things to Look Out For

1. Samsonov

Tonight Ilya Samsonov gets the chance to get revenge against his former teammate Ovechkin and his capitals. Samsonov has played solid hockey lately without letting a goal in the past two games. Tonight will be a big test as Ovechkin has been consistently producing and still not showing signs of slowing down. A solid effort from Samsonov tonight will help put the Leafs back into the win column.

2. Liljegren

Liljegren left the last game near the end of the second period with an injury and didn’t return. With that said, he practiced this morning in a regular jersey in his usual lineup spot. We did see an emergency recall of Mac Hollowell, though, so it will be interesting to see if Liljegren ends up being in the lineup or not. Liljegren has been a solid core of the Leafs’ defense and has been consistently improving in more usage, so I’m sure the team is hopeful he can play tonight.

3. Engvall

Last game, Engvall saw himself playing minutes on the second line with Tavares and Marner in the third period. While he doesn’t usually stick out and doesn’t use his body as much as I’d hope, the Leafs still win the minutes where he is on the ice. He has helped contribute to the Leafs’ success, and the production has slowly been coming along. He finds himself starting on the Leafs third line, but I’m curious if he has a good start to the game and if he will end up back on the second line.

Tonight’s tilt starts at 7 pm EST on CBC and Sportsnet, as the Leafs take on the Capitals.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me on Twitter @nathan_bondy.

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