Since the Caps canned him on May 10, 2002, Ron Wilson is 4-0 as a head coach against Washington. All-time, Crazy Ron is 7-2-1 against the team he took to the Stanley Cup Finals in his first year behind the bench for them. What does he have in store for the Caps this time around? If yesterday's practice is any indication (h/t TRS on the link), it may very well be sixty minutes of hell.
The Leafs come into the game with a crappy record due largely to the fact that they're giving up a ton of goals (funny how things tend to work out that way). They can score, though, and they shoot the puck a ton, which is more than a little bit frightening considering the defense they'll be facing.
Also frightening? The Caps on the road this season, where they've gone 4-8-2 (and have lost their last four), have given up 4.58 goals per game, and have allowed five or more goals in half of their games.
Which of the Caps masked men will be tasked with stopping the Buds has yet to be revealed, but when we posed the question yesterday as to which Caps goalie you wanted to see in goal for tonight's game against the Leafs, approximately 57% of you picked Jose Theodore. Given the career marks of he and Brent Johnson against Toronto, however, neither is a terribly appealing option:
|Career vs. TOR - J. Theodore
|Career vs. TOR - B. Johnson
Of note, however, Johnny did stop 31 of 32 shots in a big 2-1 win over the Leafs last January, while JT60 is 2-1-2/3.73/.849 against Toronto since the lockout (with all of those starts coming in 2005-06).
At the other end of the ice, Ron Wilson gets to choose between these two sieves:
|2008 - Vesa Toskala||23||1350||9||8||5||1||73||3.24||623||550||.883||1|
|2008 - Curtis Joseph||6||228||0||3||1||1||15||3.95||101||86||.851||0|
Bottom line? Bet the over tonight.
In each of the past three seasons, the Caps and Leafs have split their two meetings north of the border, so Washington has had some success in Toronto (some even more than others, in fact), but tonight, like every night given the current injury situation, will be a tough test. Throw Ron Wilson in the mix, as well as Bruce Boudreau facing his former team (and if there's one link in this post to follow, it's that one), Alex Ovechkin in Canada, pictures from the annual meeting of the Jeff Finger fan club, etc., and there are no shortage of storylines. Hopefully for Caps fans and anyone heading to the Sundowner after the game, the story has a happy ending.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
On this date in 1985 the Caps traded Doug Jarvis to Hartford for Jorgen Petterson, who may have been the softest player to ever lace up a pair of skates.... Two years to the day later, Scott Stevens set the franchise record (still standing) for points in a game by a defenseman with five in a 10-3 win over L.A. (h/t, as always, to the HHOF for the history lessons).... Coaching in the AHL isn't as easy as it looks, especially when two-thirds of your blueline is in the NHL.... Finally, flipping through our own archives as I do from time to time, I stumbled upon a great (and forgotten) Ovechkin quote that I had posted three years ago today. Awesome.