Caps begin a long journey in Toronto

April 14 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena

Weather: 7:00 p.m.


Radio: Capitals Radio 24/7, Team 980

Washington Capitals (41-22-10)

Toronto Maple Leafs (47-20-6)

Washington opens its longest road trip in just over three years Thursday night in Toronto, making its first visit to that city in nearly two and a half years. Thursday’s game against the Maple Leafs is the start of a five-game road trip that will span 11 days and three time zones.

The Caps will hit the road on a high note. Washington inflicted a 9-2 loss on the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday in the district, picking up its fourth straight win and third straight at home. The winning streak matches the Capitals’ longest winning streak of the season, achieved twice previously from Nov. 8-14 and March 11-18.

Washington’s first four goals of the game came from four different front lines, eight different players flashed the red light, and 16 of the team’s 18 skaters scored a point in the game. Tuesday’s game marked the fifth time in franchise history the Caps had as many as 16 different players to score a point in a game, and the first time since in an 8-1 win over the Thrashers at Atlanta on January 9, 2010. . Both Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were among the scorers on Tuesday, and they were also involved that night in Atlanta more than a dozen years ago.

“It’s always difficult to play three games in four nights,” says Caps defender Trevor Van Riemsdyk. “And especially that third after consecutive games, it’s always difficult no matter who you’re playing against. But we have a group of veterans who know that at this time of year in particular you have to be careful to business and keep the momentum going while you have it. I think we did a great job with our start, and pretty much all the way.

Now the Caps are moving on from that win, and they’re heading down the road where they’ve had their greatest success this season. Washington’s 22-7-5 streak is the NHL’s highest in point percentage (.721), and with seven road games remaining on their schedule, the Caps have an opportunity to equal or surpass the franchise record for road wins (27), achieved in 2015-16.

On Thursday in Toronto, the Caps will have the chance to extend their winning streak to five, and they will also have the opportunity to tie a franchise record that was set nearly four decades ago and has never been broken. equaled only once since. With a five-game road winning streak in their five-game road trip, the Caps can tie the franchise mark for longest road winning streak with a win over the Leafs in the trip opener. .

Washington has scored four or more goals in four consecutive games, and it has also scored two or fewer goals in consecutive games for the first time in more than a month. The Caps are also starting to show some chemistry with some of their more recent cobbled lines, particularly the Anthony Mantha-Lars Eller-Tom Wilson trio, who scored multiple goals in each of their two games together.

“For the forwards to be as healthy as we have been for some time and to be able to sit on those lines, I thought that was really good,” Caps coach Peter said. The violet. “It seemed like we were good [offensive] time zone of all lines; they seemed like a good click and they had chemistry too.”

Blueliner – and new dad – matt irvin and forward John Larsson each scored their first goal as a member of the Capitals in Tuesday’s win. Irwin’s goal was his first since Dec. 6, 2018, and Larsson’s was Washington’s only power-play goal of the game.

“All of our lines were working,” says van Riemsdyk. “I think that’s one of our biggest strengths is that we have four lines that are reliable and that you can rely on, that you can rely on on your side, and that you can play against. other top lines, and it’s great to see all four lines rewarded.

“Guys were going hard at net, and a lot of guys were having great nights. I’m really happy for Matty Irwin, he deserved it. I’m sure it’s something he’ll always remember with a new baby and now his first Caps goal. That’s kinda cute.

Toronto won the only previous meeting between the two teams this season, earning a 5-3 win over the Capitals in Washington on Feb. 28. The Leafs scored three first-period goals against the Caps in that game, including two in the final 71 seconds into the frame. From Toronto Thomas Wilson scored one power-play goal and one shorthanded goal for the Capitals in that game.

Like the Caps, the Leafs are hot right now, although they did cool down a bit in a 5-2 home loss to Buffalo on Tuesday. Even with that setback, the Maple Leafs are 7-1-1 in their last nine games.

For Toronto, Thursday’s game is the final — and rubber game — of a three-game homestand. The Leafs got the ball rolling with a 3-2 victory over Montreal on Saturday before losing to Buffalo three nights later.

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