Toronto Maple Leafs (36-24-8) at Washington Capitals (31-27-10)
|Date & Time||Sunday March 16, 2014, 3:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Washington Capitals -136 / Toronto Maple Leafs +124 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Maple Leafs look to build momentum from their impressive trip to California as they head to the American capital to take on Washington.
The Maple Leafs are playing some of their best hockey of the season at the moment and while their ongoing shot conceding is still a big issue their goaltending has stepped up huge and no more was that evident than against the Ducks and Kings last week. Toronto holds down the third overall seed in the Eastern Conference which is the highest they will likely finish thanks to Boston’s wide divisional lead but a possible first round matchup against the Blue Jackets has to look good to Leafs Nation. Toronto is but a single point up on the Canadiens and Lightning however and with both teams playing equally as desperate as the Leafs we are in for a treat down the stretch in what’ll be a tight race to the finish. James Reimer will start in goal for Toronto as first stringer Jonathan Bernier continues to nurse an injury.
The Capitals have had an up and down season and while star forward Alex Ovechkin leads the lead in goals once again he hasn’t had the type of season we are used to in the sense of him leading his team to a divisional title. Washington was a perennial favourite to win the Cup for a three or four year stretch but have since dropped off over the last three and now run the risk of not even qualifying for the playoffs at all. Washington is certainly in the mix as they’re just three points back of the Flyers for eighth but to be honest I think there are a lot of holes on this roster especially on the back end and their bottom two forward lines. Jaroslav Halak is an upgrade in goal and it is likely he will resign with the team but the immediate goal of Halak and the Caps is to sneak into the playoffs and perhaps do some damage along the way. Normally I am a stickler for fading the Leafs after a huge victory especially against a team like Washington but I can’t fathom how the Caps are this heavy of a favourite against a better team who sits eight points ahead of them in the standings. Take Toronto here.