Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gameday: vs. Toronto, Mar. 11

It's a big one for the Caps this afternoon.
The Washington Capitals will welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to Verizon Center this afternoon as they look to extend their modest two-game winning streak.  The Capitals are 5-4-1 in their last ten games and 34-28-6 overall for 74 standings points in 68 games.  That places them second in the Southeast Division, one point behind the Panthers with one more game played, and eighth in the Eastern Conference, two points clear of the Jets with one game in hand.  The Leafs are 2-6-2 in their last ten and 31-30-8 overall for 70 standings points in 69 games.  That places them fourth in the Northeast Division and eleventh overall in the East.  This is the fourth and final meeting between these two clubs this season; the Caps lead the season series 2-1.

Randy Carlyle is expected to go with Jonas Gustavsson in goal after he shut out the Flyers Saturday night but still took the loss in the shootout.  Gustavsson is 17-15-3 on the year in 38 starts, and has posted a 2.83 GAA, .906 save percentage, and four shutouts.  Outside the crease, the Leafs will be without one of their biggest guns, winger Joffrey Lupul, who is out for four weeks with a shoulder injury.  Wingers Mike Brown (thigh contusion) and Colby Armstrong (face) are questionable, but neither played in last night's contest.

Tomas Vokoun seems almost certain to earn the call from Dale Hunter after stopping 30 of 33 yesterday in Boston.  Vokoun is 25-16-2 on the year with a 2.51 GAA, .917 save percentage, and four shutouts.  He beat the Leafs the last time he faced them, too, stopping 26 of 28 shots.  On the injury front, the Caps will be without Nicklas Backstrom, as they have been for the last nine weeks, as the superstar Swede recovers from a concussion.  He's not even in the country at the moment; he's back home visiting family.  In addition, Mike Green will be absent from the lineup as he serves the second game of a three-game suspension for his actions in Thursday's game.  After the win against a team as good as Boston, I would expect Dale Hunter to keep the lineup the same, meaning Erskine out and Halpern out with Hamrlik and Knuble in.

Puck drops 5:09-ish.  As always, follow me on Twitter here for news and updates.  No recap tonight because of school obligations.

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