Gameday: vs. Toronto, Feb. 5

Michal Neuvirth should get another crack at Toronto on Tuesday (Clydeorama).

The Washington Capitals will welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to Verizon Center on Tuesday night for a matchup between two struggling teams as Washington once again tries to regain their footing.  Coming off a 6-3 humbling at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday, Washington is 2-6-1 on the season; their five standings points place them last in both the Southeast Division and the Eastern Conference.  Toronto, who have lost two in a row and hold a 4-5-0 mark for eight standings points, are fourth in the Northeast Division and 10th in the Conference; their last game was a 4-1 setback at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes and Alexander Semin.  This is the two teams’ second meeting this season, Toronto came back from a 2-1 2nd intermission deficit to beat the Capitals 3-2 two weeks ago.

Given that Toronto lost last night but still has a solid number one goalie in James Reimer, it is tough to predict a starter for Randy Carlye’s men this evening.  Reimer has been the better goalie in the early season, but backup Ben Scrivens has not played in a while and may get the net in a back-to-back situation.  On the injury front, Toronto is missing star winger Joffrey Lupul, who has a broken forearm.  Defensemen Carl Gunnarsson, who has a bad hip, has missed the Leafs’ last two games but may play.

Following Braden Holtby’s disastrous performance on Sunday, it seems logical that Michal Neuvirth will return to the goal for Adam Oates.  Neuvirth, who has been largely very good behind a porous defense this season, has a 2.97 GAA and .899 save percentage in his five starts.  Both defenseman Jack Hillen and forward Brooks Laich will be absent with shoulder and groin injuries, respectively, while rearguard John Erskine is still suspended for an elbow to Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds last Friday night.  Despite the loss to the Penguins Sunday, the rest of the linep will remain the same.  This means that Roman Hamrlik and Mathieu Perreault will be healthy scratches.

Puck drops 7:07-ish.  Check back later.

Harry Hawkings is a college student credentialed to cover the Capitals for RtR.  Follow him on Twitter here for all your news needs this season.

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