Saturday night Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs take on Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. From what is a staple for this Leafs team, it is an offence vs defence battle. This Capitals team is very good with Ovechkin, Backstrom, Johansson, Carlson and Holtby they are good in every position. Lets take a look at the comparison between the two teams below:

Toronto Washington
8-8-4 Record 13-5-2
23rd Overall 4th
3rd Offence 11th
27th Defence 3rd
32.2 Shots per game 30.0
-1.05 Shot Differential Per Game 2.70
26.5 Hits Per Game 19.2
11.5 PIM Per Game 7.9
0.902 Save % 0.921
Toronto Washington
3.10 Goals Per Game 2.75
21.1% Power Play % 16.7%
82.0% Penalty Kill % 82.8%
49.5 CF% 52.5
49.2 FF% 51.4
99.9 PDO 101.3
304 Blocked shots 233

This shows that Washington gives up less shots a game, take less penalties and is getting better goaltending. Toronto has good offensive stats yes, but Washington has far better defensive stats. Even the advanced stats show that Washington gives up less defensive chances on net then they get offensive chances which is a good thing, more time playing offence and less time on the defensive end wins games.

The key to this game will be possession. If Washington has the majority of possession the Leafs are in deep trouble. When the ENTIRE Leafs team not just Matthews can keep possession the Leafs are dangerous, as of late its a lot of outside shots and weak cycling the puck. If that keeps up they may get shut out by Holtby. Another reason possession is key is when the Leafs spend their time chasing the puck they take WAYYY too many penalties, they are on average 11.5 PIMs a game which is just silly.

My prediction is if the Leafs keep possession they win 3-2, if they are the negative team on possession they lose 4-1. Lets see what happens!!

Let me know what you think of tonight’s game. Comment below or on FB, or tweet me @TMLhockeytlk