Greg Fiume

Capitals vs. Maple Leafs: Game 44 of 82

The Caps look to follow up their win in Tampa last night with a back-to-back sweep against visiting Toronto.

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Postgame Quotes

Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates on the play of goaltender Michal Neuvirth tonight...

"I thought he played a great game, I really did. First period I think he had some shots that allowed him to get into the game, which is good for him. After the second goal he made a fantastic save that saved the game for us."

Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates on how the top two lines have performed...

"They are clicking a little bit which is good - chemistry. It affects the other team's matchups, who they put on who. Through the course of the game it is nice to have more options where you feel comfortable we're going to get goals. I thought the top three lines have done a good job."

Washington Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin on the physicality of tonight's game...

"[Tom Wilson] and [John Erskine] did a great job, especially against great guys who can fight. They won the battles and it gave us more confidence. I think they [Toronto] started playing rough against us and they showed them who the boss was."

Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom on playing the game the right way...

"We've been waiting for wins for a bit now; we lost four in a row before yesterday against Tampa. We need to put together a couple of wins in a row, that's what we are hoping. We got to play the same way. We need those wins, especially during this time of the year. It is important. It's going to be hard to catch up if you're not in the top there."

Washington Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth on his first game back...

"I just told myself ‘it's just another game.' I've been playing in this league for some time, and I was confident. It's an unbelievable feeling right now. I am pretty happy with the win, I have been watching a lot of hockey from the press box and also studying other goalies and at practice [the coaches] helped me to stay in shape and it paid off tonight."

Washington Capitals winger Joel Ward on his goal...

"I knew I didn't get a good crack at it, but I knew I was in a position I was kind of waiting for it and waiting for it and I knew I had some time there, so I was just hoping that [Johansson] would give me a chance to get a crack at it. I was a little upset at first because of the way it came off my stick, but I got enough for it to go in so it was definitely a good feeling to contribute."

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle on his team's performance tonight...

"This might be one of the better games we've played in a month. We showed desperation. We showed that we care. When we put our heart and our effort into it there's more in that [locker room] than has been displayed."

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle on his team's scrappiness...

"We've been begging, pleading, kicking, kissing, whatever we can do to try and find a way to play with some confidence. It seems like we've squeezed our sticks here... It's mind-boggling. Believe me, it's mind-boggling."

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier on trying to stay positive...

"When you're going through those [losing] stretches it's hard to stay positive, but inside of us we know we deserve a better fate. At least to get a point. But that's the way it goes, and we've got to stay positive."

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier on the effect of the Winter Classic on the team...

"I'm not looking for excuses. I'm not sure if it's because it was such an emotional game, and for a month we had HBO [following us]. But we're professional, and we know we've got to come out and work hard every game and I don't think we did the last three. Tonight we did."

Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf on responding to tonight's loss...

"When you lose hockey games you learn from it, and when you win hockey games you take the good and move forward. When you're going through a stretch like we're going through and wins are very tough to come by... goals are going off shin pads; that's the way it is. You've got to work your way through it."

Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf on the team's effort...

"We played harder. We competed more, and no one likes to be embarrassed the way that we were. So we responded in a way... We played a lot better but we still came up short. We're not satisfied by any means."

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Caps vs. Leafs Recap: Caps Complete Comeback 3-2

As entertaining a hockey contest as you could imagine the Capitals closed out their week with a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs that had all the sport's best - great goaltending, timely scoring, and an unavoidable physical edge.

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Caps vs. Maple Leafs 3rd Period Thread

Alex Ovechkin would start the scoring in the sixth minute of the middle frame, the Russian sniper finding space in the slot with Mikhail Grabovski feeding him an underhanded pitch for the dinger. Less than six minutes later the Maple Leafs would knot the game, James van Riemsdyk tallying his 16th of the season on the man advantage. A spirited bout between Carter Ashton and Tom Wilson would precede a heavyweight veteran affair between Colton Orr and John Erskine, the two entertaining match-ups getting Verizon Center back into the action. The game remains tied at one with twenty minutes left to play.

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Caps vs. Maple Leafs 2nd Period Thread

Michal Neuvirth stepped in to game action for the first time since November 22nd, turning aside all 13 Toronto Maple Leafs shots during the first frame. Both Washington and Toronto's power play units failed to click on their first chances, the Capitals ending twenty minutes with 12 shots of their own on Jonathan Bernier - the game still tied at zero.

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Tonight's 8-Bit Lines: Same Lines, New Goalie?

With the second half of back-to-back games looming, no morning skate for the Caps, but look for the same lineup as last night... with someone in a Caps jersey handling the evening's goaltending duties. We assume.

So that narrows it down to Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby as the more likely candidates, with Philipp Grubauer as the dark horse. Having three goalies is fun.

Here are tonight's probable lines and defensive pairings:

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Brooks Laich - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer

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Eric FehrMikhail Grabovski - Alex Ovechkin

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Jason Chimera - Marcus Johansson - Joel Ward

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Aaron Volpatti - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

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Karl Alzner - John Carlson

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Dmitry Orlov - Mike Green

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John Erskine - Connor Carrick

That leaves Martin Erat, Steve Oleksy and a goalie as healthy scratches, Michael Latta and Jack Hillen out with injury, and another goalie serving as backup.

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Caps vs. Leafs Game Thread

The Caps look to follow up their win in Tampa last night with a back-to-back sweep against visiting Toronto.

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