TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (4-2-1 – 9 Points) vs. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (3-2-2 – 8 Points)




ALL-TIME on the ROAD: 25-43-4-3 2018-19: 2-1-0

LAST 5: 2-3-0 LAST 10: 4-5-1


GAMES: Jason Spezza (40), John Tavares (37), Morgan Rielly (18) POINTS: Jason Spezza (38), John Tavares (32), Morgan Rielly (11)

GOALS: John Tavares (16), Jason Spezza (14), Mitch Marner (3), Auston Matthews (3) ASSISTS: Jason Spezza (24), John Tavares (16), Morgan Rielly (10)

PENALTY MINUTES: Jason Spezza (16), John Tavares (8), Morgan Rielly (4) MAPLE LEAFS – CAPITALS TEAM STATS

TORONTO WASHINGTON GOALS FOR (Rank): 28 (t-1st) 22 (t-9th) GOALS AGAINST (Rank): 23 (t-24th) 23 (t-24th) POWER PLAY [%] (Rank): 7/25 [28.0%] (8th) 6/27 [22.2%] (t-15th) PENALTY KILL [%] (Rank): 17/21 [81.0%] (16th) 21/25 [84.0%] (10th) SHOTS (Rank): 245 (t-2nd) 211 (9th) 5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPTS FOR (Rank): 318 (2nd) 250 (8th) 5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPT % (Rank): 56.0% (1st) 52.3% (9th)

FACEOFF % (Rank): 53.1% (t-5th) 53.1% (t-5th) MAPLE LEAFS

CAPITALS NOTES – Tonight’s game marks the 148th meeting between the Maple Leafs and Capitals. – The first matchup between the franchises took place on October 10, 1974 when the Maple Leafs defeated the Capitals by a 4-3 score in Washington.

– The Maple Leafs have a record of 63-70-10-4 in the previous 147 matchups between the clubs.

– The Maple Leafs have a record of 38-27-6-1 in 72 games in Toronto and a record of 25-43-4-3 in 75 games played on the road.

– Toronto’s last win over the Capitals in Washington came on October 13, 2018 (Toronto 4, Washington 2).

– Frederik Andersen played in his 300th career NHL game on February 21, 2019 vs. Washington. – William Nylander appeared in his 100th career NHL game on April 4, 2017 vs. the Capitals.

– John Tavares scored his 100th career NHL goal on March 9, 2013 against the Capitals and later skated in his 600th career NHL game on November 2, 2017 at Washington as a member of the New York Islanders.


GOALS 7 (Matthews) ASSISTS 9 (Rielly)

POINTS 9 (Marner, Rielly)

POWER PLAY POINTS 6 (Marner) SHORTHANDED POINTS N/A PIMs 8 (Kerfoot) SHOTS 32 (Matthews) FACEOFF WIN% 60.7% (Matthews) 5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPT % 70.6% (Spezza) BLOCKED SHOTS 16 (Ceci) TAKEAWAYS 7 (Tavares) HITS 15 (Muzzin) TOI PER GAME 24:10 (Rielly) PP TOI PER GAME 3:13 (Matthews) SH TOI PER GAME 3:25 (Ceci) MAPLE LEAFS NOTABLES – Frederik Andersen is tied for fourth among NHL goaltenders in saves made (151) through six starts this season.

– Tyson Barrie has a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 57.5 percent, which is the highest mark among Toronto defencemen who have appeared in each game this season and the highest mark among NHL defencemen who have appeared in at least seven games.

– Cody Ceci is tied for eighth in the NHL in blocked shots (16). He is tied with Morgan Rielly for the lead in takeaways (4) among Maple Leaf defencemen.

– Frederik Gauthier has started 5.6 percent of his 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone, which is the lowest mark among NHLers who have appeared in at least five games. – Michael Hutchinson made one appearance against the Capitals last season as a member of the Florida Panthers, allowing one goal on 11 shots in 31:45 to earn a shootout victory on October 19, 2018.

– Andreas Johnsson has been on the ice for 12 Maple Leafs goals-for, which is tied for the second-most on-ice goals-for among NHL left wings, trailing only Nashville’s Filip Forsberg (14).

– Kasperi Kapanen is averaging 24.0 shifts per game, which is the eighth-most shifts per game among NHL right wingers.

– Alex Kerfoot has won 55.6 percent (20 won, 16 lost) of his faceoffs when the Maple Leafs are leading in games, which is the 15th-most faceoffs wins when leading in the NHL.

– Mitch Marner is tied for second among all NHL skaters in power play points with four (2-4-6). He is averaging 3.43 shots on goal per game through seven games this season. His career-high for shots on goal per game in a season prior to this season was 2.84 in 2018-19.

– Auston Matthews is second in the NHL in goals (7) and is tied for the NHL lead in even-strength goals (5) through seven games in 2019-20. He ranks second among NHL skaters in shots on goal (32). He has been on the ice for the second-most shot attempts-for (103) among NHL centres. – Ilya Mikheyev is tied for third in points among rookie skaters (2-3-5). He leads all rookies who have appeared in multiple games in shorthanded ice time per game (2:23).

– Trevor Moore is tied for the lead among NHL rookies in hits (13) and is tied for second among NHL rookies in takeaways (5).

– Jake Muzzin is averaging 29.9 shifts per game, which is the fourth-highest average among all NHL skaters. He has been on the ice for the most shot attempts-for of any skater in the NHL (133 Toronto shot attempts).

– William Nylander has taken his shots from an average distance of 24.2 feet from goal, which is the fourth-closest average among Toronto skaters. He had three assists in two games against Washington last season.

– Morgan Rielly registered four assists in the second period on October 15 vs. Minnesota to tie the franchise record for assists in a period set by Rick Vaive. He ranks eighth among Eastern Conference skaters in time on ice per game (24:10).

– John Tavares is eighth in the NHL in faceoffs taken (127) and is tied for fifth in faceoffs won (70) through seven games. His 36 offensive zone faceoff wins are the fourth-most in the NHL.

CURRENT POINT STREAKS – John Tavares has points (2-1-3) in three consecutive games.


– October 15: Morgan Rielly recorded his 200th career NHL assist. – October 12: Nick Shore scored his first goal as a Maple Leaf.


– Frederik Andersen is two games from 200 games as a Maple Leaf. – Michael Hutchinson is four wins from 50 career NHL wins.

– Auston Matthews is five assists from 100 career NHL assists

. INJURY REPORT – Travis Dermott (shoulder) is on injured reserve. – Zach Hyman (knee) is on injured reserve.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS – Oct. 14: Recalled defenceman Kevin Gravel from the Toronto Marlies (AHL). Loaned defenceman Rasmus Sandin to the Marlies

“We weren’t able to break through. We weren’t able to get that hit tonight to really allow us to be in that game or even grab a lead at some point. Frustrating but overall I thought from a plan standpoint and giving yourselves a really good chance, I thought our guys were able to do that.” — AARON BOONE

October 15, 2019

Aaron Boone

New York, New York – postgame 3

Houston – 4, New York – 1

Q. In the first two games you played Gleyber in the third spot and you moved him today to fifth. And what do you think about Severino’s outing today?
AARON BOONE: That was just we had a few more lefties, so spacing our lefties out. Lineup-wise, we switch a lot based on who we have in there. With Hicks being in there and having a third lefty, just kind of getting some spacing within our lineup is all. I actually think Gleyber hit six the first game, if I’m not mistaken.

And I thought Seve was good. Obviously really had to labor there in that first inning, 36 pitches, then had to work really hard in the second inning, and I actually thought he settled in. As the night went on, I thought he got stronger.

And then the decision to send him back out there for the fifth, I thought he was at a point where he was still strong and throwing the ball well. Maybe the delay hurt him a little bit, where he gives up the — gets Altuve to lead things off and then the base hit and the walk.

But I thought overall he competed really well. Obviously got himself in some trouble there, a couple of solo homers, but overall I thought he was pretty good.

Q. Ottavino continues to have problems on the mound. What’s been the problem, and will you continue to use him?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, we’ll continue to use him. I thought he was in the midst of a pretty good opening at-bat there with Springer and then loses him. That’s obviously difficult when you come in from the pen and you have a lead-off walk, especially there at the top of the lineup. We’ve put him in some tough spots obviously in the lineup, and then they’re running. And Altuve’s first-pitch hit and the night’s over there.

Just got to be a little sharper with his command, a little sharper with his stuff, and we’re going to need him moving forward.

Q. I wonder what you’re seeing from S�nchez on both sides of the ball, specifically offensively. And would you consider going to Romine in this series as a starter?
AARON BOONE: No. I’m seeing Gary miss some pitches. I felt like he got another good one to hit today and put it on the net again. He’s got to take advantage of — especially when you’re facing a team like this with pitching like they have, when you do get a ball that you can handle, you’ve got to make sure it gets in play with authority and not on the net.

Defensively I think he’s been great. I think he’s, from a game plan, game calling, receiving, you know, had the block get by, but anytime a heater is in the — fastball is in the dirt, that’s kind of a tough one for a catcher. But defensively I feel like he’s been really good.

Q. A couple of times you had relievers who looked like they were close to ready when Severino is in the game. Did he earn his way past some of those matchups by you seeing his stuff was improving? Did you get close to taking him out and decide not to?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, 36 pitches there in the first inning, he’s a hitter away. Obviously we’re not going to let him go much more than that. And then there was another time that he was probably a hitter away. Yeah, just kept making some pitches when he needed to.

And again, then I felt like he got a little bit sharper. As he got into his outing I thought he got a lot better and stronger.

Q. You haven’t gotten a lot of length from your starters the last couple of games. With the prospect of the weather tomorrow, and needing to win three games in four days after that, do you need more length from your starters? Can you get by with four innings from a starter, despite how good your bullpen is?
AARON BOONE: No, we’re going to need some length. And Seve did get us into the fifth today and Masa six the first game. So really, it’s one short outing that we had ahead of an off day.

But confident that our starters can give us that. Obviously one of these days we’ll kind of bullpen it and have to go that way. But I’m confident that they can get us deeper into the game.

Q. As good as Cole was, did you think he was vulnerable with the five walks? And did you think he raised his game when the big spots with guys on base?
AARON BOONE: It’s obviously a little frustrating we weren’t able to break through with him. But I think up and down we gave ourselves a chance. And anytime you’re facing a guy like that, you want that kind of traffic. And we had that in several innings. He made big pitches when he had to.

I thought DJ had a really good swing on a ball, he hit to center with a couple of guys out there. And then Didi gets under it just a hair.

So anytime — I think we ended up with probably about nine baserunners against him. You kind of sign up for that. We weren’t able to break through. We weren’t able to get that hit tonight to really allow us to be in that game or even grab a lead at some point.

Frustrating but overall I thought from a plan standpoint and giving yourselves a really good chance, I thought our guys were able to do that.

Q. On that same note, we saw guys tonight like Edwin and Didi trying to attack Cole early in the count. Was that part of the game plan, trying not to get to two strikes?
AARON BOONE: Well, I mean, certainly you don’t want to allow a lot of pitchers, but certainly great pitchers to just get ahead with ease. So I think guys were up there being aggressive.

That said, I think we made him work pretty hard, too. I think he was up over a hundred pitches or flirting with that, even in that fifth inning where we got him up to about 90. I thought our guys did a good job of being aggressive, looking for a pitch early, but also getting in, working some counts.

Q. On the Didi drive, did you and the guys in your dugout think that was out?
AARON BOONE: I wasn’t sure. I knew he got it good. But I also knew he got under it and hit it high. So I was kind of just hoping a little bit.

Q. Do you put any stock in the idea that the ball that’s being used in the playoffs is different from the one you guys have used during the regular season?
AARON BOONE: I don’t know. I don’t think — hard for me to say at this point. I’ve heard a couple of things about that. I don’t know.

Q. If you do play tomorrow, who is your opener and where do you go from there? Do you have any sense if they’d make a decision tonight on tomorrow?
AARON BOONE: I don’t. I haven’t seen anyone since I came in. I’m not sure of that.

We’ll go talk through how we want to go with it tomorrow in the case that we do play.

Q. And if they do call it early would it be then Tanaka?
AARON BOONE: Good chance of that. That’s something we’ll talk through, also. But a good chance of that, yes.

Q. To the point of going deep into the counts, would you have preferred to see Didi take a few more pitches and swing at so many first pitches?
A. No.

AARON BOONE: No. I mean, I want our guys — we do a great job as a whole, obviously, of working counts and making pitchers work. But I always think it’s important to go in there on the hunt, especially when you’re up against a good pitcher. You can’t just give great pitchers strike one. I always expect us to go up there looking to be aggressive. So if there’s going to be some first pitch outs, that’s part of it.

Q. Considering how much time he missed, what did you think of Hicks’s at-bats, and if they were good enough for you, can you see him moving up from 9th to someplace more towards the middle or top of the lineup?
AARON BOONE: I don’t know. We’ll balance it out, kind of looking at how I want to go forward from here.

I thought his at-bats were really good. Two pretty big-time at-bats against Cole on his walks. A lot of long at-bats, some good swings and 3-2. It was a classic case of him being — I thought he was really aggressive but kind of that Hicks signature patience. So I think with what we’ve seen when he came in the other day and then his at-bats today, I think we’re all very encouraged by that.

Q. You mentioned splitting up the lefties in the lineup, Houston doesn’t use a lot of lefties in their lineup in the ALCS. Is there any pitcher in particular you worry about neutralizing left–handed batters specifically?
AARON BOONE: Well, I mean, they don’t have lefties but they have guys that are better at getting lefties out. So in a lot of ways it’s the same difference. So you’re still trying to — when we do have two or three lefties in there splitting them up because you don’t want to give their guys that are really good righty on righty, long lanes. Same can be said for splitting up their guys that are more their lefty assassins.

You’ve got to not get caught up in what they are, right, left-handed, and what they get out. When we can we’ll space them out. Obviously we don’t have that luxury, because we’re very right-handed usually. But I’ll space them out when I can.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

“Never take it for granted because it can change. These are both really good teams and you can’t get flippant about the fact that our starters are able to get us pretty far deep into the game where I can match up our guys hopefully appropriately against their lineup to get as many outs as fast as possible.” — AJ HINCH

Oct. 15, 2019

AJ Hinch

New York, NY – postgame 3

Houston 4, New York 1

Q. How would you describe what Cole was able to do tonight at Yankee Stadium in a swing game, to constantly be in trouble, load the bases in the first inning, and constantly get out of everything?
AJ HINCH: It’s a lot of what I’ve seen this entire year. He’s exceptional. And he gets better and better and better.

I actually think the beginning of the game he had a hard time finding his stuff and finding his tempo, his rhythm. He was still getting through his outing, made some really big pitches, had some pressure on him. Then once he found his curveball it was pretty lights out. I think he finished his outing as strong as ever.

And he was able to manage his game at the beginning of the game and avoid the bad pitch. He had a couple of walks that — they’re not all bad walks. He kind of knows what he’s doing out there and how to navigate around certain things.

But a big night and clearly our team really does respond when we know he’s pitching.

Q. You had a great view from the third base dugout of Didi’s at-bat. Were you concerned, did you think it was going to go?
AJ HINCH: Yeah. Off the bat — first off, I think every fly ball in 2019 is a homer. In season, regular season, postseason, I don’t care. It’s kind of been conditioned that way.

But the ball off the bat, I immediately watched the hitter. The hitter tells you the most. And he didn’t respond right away with sort of the pure excitement. He kind of watched it for a minute and then I looked up and saw Reddick getting back, settling underneath it, I watched Didi again, then I felt a little bit better.

But to answer your question, yes.

Q. I know at this point you’re hoping this doesn’t go to a Game 7, but how reassuring is it to have Gerrit Cole ready to go in that Game 7?
AJ HINCH: It goes without saying that anytime you can target another day for him to pitch it feels pretty good. I think there’s a lot of baseball left to play before that factors in.

But he’s — I think he’s the best pitcher in baseball right now. His competition is right next to him in the clubhouse. They’re certainly a good pair. I watch what Strasburg is doing, I see what Scherzer is doing, deGrom in the city. There’s a lot of big names. But obviously I’m biased to my games.

But Gerrit is locked in. And to see him do it on the big stage in a playoff game with the magnitude of this game, it was pretty awesome.

Q. You also had another great view of George Springer and his play when he was trapped on the base path. What can you say about how smart of a play that was just to move the runners ahead?
AJ HINCH: We had a chance, it was the pitching change gave us a chance to talk about it at third base, Gary and George and I. I went out, I thought they were going to play the infield about halfway, which is what they did. Britton can generate some soft contact so you have a chance to score on that.

So we’re going there until the ball stops you. When it stops you, you have to give yourself enough time. And fortunately for us two of our better baserunners, and specifically Altuve, one of our fastest baserunners at first base can get to third. Brantley did a great job of following it so we end the play with second and third, which puts pressure on their dugout as to what you’re going to do with Bregman.

George executed it flawlessly, being able to stay at kind of that 45-foot mark and not run into an out was huge. The batter-runner Brantley getting to second, made him intentionally walk Bregman, and set up our inning. And it was a good play all the way around.

Q. Prior to the series a lot of talk about bullpens. Can you talk about how your bullpen has performed and how your offense has performed against their bullpen?
AJ HINCH: We’ve come up with some timely hits off their bullpen. We put pressure on a lot of their pitchers. They were really good. Their bullpen was really good in that extra-inning game for a really long time. We got to Happ at the end.

But both bullpens are under the microscope right now, especially nowadays in this series, and they’re going to be close games and big swings. I know Joe Smith had a really good night the other night, gets a big out on Encarnacion and then Torres hits a homer. I think Will Harris has come in and been great.

I think defense on both sides, you’re seeing the positioning advantages when guys hit into these positions. And pitching defense and timely hitting, right now we’ve done a little bit better getting up 2-1. But both bullpens — these guys are going to see a lot of their bullpens.

Q. You guys are 9 and 1 when Altuve hits a homer in the playoffs. What does it mean for your club to get him going, especially —
AJ HINCH: You know, he’s such a great player and a spark plug for all of us. And one of the things that we always say is, it doesn’t have to be him or it doesn’t have to be George, it doesn’t have to be Bregman, anybody. We’ve got a lineup full of guys that can carry us any given day. There’s something about the top of that order, including George and Josey and Brantley swinging the bat a little better this last game.

When they get going our offense really does start to take off. Today specifically, you come into this stadium, you have to try to take the lead. And the homer kind of kick-started everything. Reddick gets a big homer.

Part of the heart and soul of what we do is Jose. He’s been here the longest of anybody on this team. He’s an energy provider. He’s a spark anytime he’s on the field. I’ve said this before, but he’s everything right about the Houston Astros is Jose Altuve.

Q. Between your three starters so far in this series, if my math is right, you pitched 19 and two-thirds innings from Cole, Verlander, and Greinke. How much of a comfort is it knowing that you maybe don’t have to piece together a bullpen game and having those three guys at the top of the rotation?
AJ HINCH: Yeah, that’s old school, right. We like when the starter gets to pitch a little bit. We have some of the best. I always believe that the starting pitcher sets the tone of the day. And our guys really do a good job of taking that to heart. They take their starts as serious as any guys that I’ve been around; their preparation, their entry into the game, their first innings. They really do a good job of setting the tone for our team.

Our team knows exactly who is on the mound and what the opportunity is for us, that we’re going to be in these games.

Never take it for granted because it can change. These are both really good teams and you can’t get flippant about the fact that our starters are able to get us pretty far deep into the game where I can match up our guys hopefully appropriately against their lineup to get as many outs as fast as possible.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

. Morgan Rielly’s four second period assists tie the franchise record for assists in a period (Previous: Rick Vaive – March 12, 1984). His assist on Johnsson’s second period goal is his 200th career NHL assist. Rielly’s four assists match his single-game career-highs for assists (3x) and points (4x) in a game.

Morgan Rielly equals career best with four assists

MINNESOTA WILD (1-5-0 – 2 Points) 2 vs. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (4-2-1 – 9 Points) 4


1 2 3 OT FINAL

MINNESOTA 1 0 1 – 2 TORONTO 0 4 0 – 4


  • John Tavares put the Maple Leafs on the board at 1:58 of the second period. Tavares has points (21-3) in three consecutive games. He has six points (2-4-6) in seven games this season. In 16 career games against the Wild, Tavares has recorded 15 points (7-8-15).
  • – Mitch Marner scored Toronto’s second goal of the night on the power play at 7:17 of the second period and later registered the primary assist on Andreas Johnsson’s second period goal before recording the primary assist on Auston Matthews’ second period goal. Tonight’s game is Marner’s first multi-assist and second multi-point performance of the season. He has 40 career multi-assist games and 61 career multi-point games. Marner leads the Maple Leafs in power play points (2-4-6).
  • – Andreas Johnsson recorded the primary assist on Marner’s second period goal and later scored the third Maple Leafs goal of the game on the power play at 8:29 of the second period. Johnsson has four points (2-2-4) over his last four games. Tonight’s game is his first multi-point game this season and the 12th of his career.
  • – Auston Matthews scored the fourth Toronto goal of the night at 13:05 of the second period. Matthews has four goals and five points (4-1-5) over his last five games. He has six goals in five games on home ice this season.
  • – Morgan Rielly collected the secondary assist on Tavares’ second period goal, the secondary assist on Marner’s second period goal, the secondary assist on Johnsson’s second period goal and the secondary assist on Matthews’ second period goal. Rielly’s four second period assists tie the franchise record for assists in a period (Previous: Rick Vaive
  • – March 12, 1984). His assist on Johnsson’s second period goal is his 200th career NHL assist. Rielly’s four assists match his single-game career-highs for assists (3x) and points (4x) in a game.
  • – Cody Ceci registered the primary assist on Tavares’ second period goal. He has three assists over his last five games. – Frederik Andersen stopped 27 shots to earn the victory.

SHOTS ON GOAL (5-on-5 in brackets)
1st 2nd 3rd OT TOTAL

MINNESOTA 8 (4) 10 (10) 11 (6) – 29 (20)

TORONTO 9 (8) 19 (15) 6 (6) – 34 (29)

SHOT ATTEMPTS (5-on-5 in brackets)

1st 2nd 3rd OT TOTAL

MINNESOTA 12 (7) 17 (17) 23 (12) – 52 (36)

TORONTO 19 (16) 30 (26) 13 (13) – 62 (55)


  • The Maple Leafs are 2-2-1 at home this season.
  • – Toronto’s all-time record is 11-11-0-1 in 23 games against the Wild and 8-5-0-0 in 13 games played in Toronto.
  • – Toronto is 1-1-0 against the Western Conference this season and 1-1-0 against the Central Division.
  • – Tonight’s attendance was 19,149.
    Shots 6 (Rielly)
    Shot Attempts 8 (Rielly)
    Faceoff Wins 12 (Tavares)
    Faceoff Win Percentage 80% (Tavares – 12 won, 3 lost)
    Hits 2 (Moore, Timashov)
    Blocked Shots 2 (Ceci, Holl, Muzzin)
    Takeaways 2 (Mikheyev)
    TOI 24:20 (Muzzin)
    Power Play TOI 2:38 (Matthews, Rielly)
    Shorthanded TOI 5:04 (Muzzin)
    Shifts 30 (Muzzin)
    5-on-5 Shot Attempt Percentage 71.4% (Kapanen – 15 for, 6 against)


  • The Maple Leafs were 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and 2-for-3 on the power play tonight. Toronto is 3-10 when not allowing a power play goal this season and 2-0-0 when scoring multiple power play goals. – Toronto is 3-2-1 when their opponent scores the first goal of the game. – The Maple Leafs are 2-1-0 when trailing after one period and 4-0-1 when leading after two periods. – Toronto is 3-1-0 when outshooting their opponent. – The Maple Leafs are 1-0-0 in Tuesday games.
    OF NOTE. …
  • The Maple Leafs tied their season-high for goals in a period with four (Previous: 2nd, Oct. 2 vs. Ottawa). – Toronto scored multiple power play goals in a game for the second time this season (Previous: Oct. 4 at Columbus). – Toronto’s line of Frederik Gauthier, Nick Shore and Dmytro Timashov were the lone Maple Leafs to not start a 5-on-5 shift in the offensive zone. – Frederik Gauthier was 4-for-4 (100%) in the faceoff circle when matched up with Minnesota centre Eric Staal. – William Nylander was on the ice for a team-high 24 Toronto shot attempts-for at 5-on-5. Nylander finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 68.6 percent (24 for, 11 against). – John Tavares was 8-for-11 (73%) in the faceoff circle when taking draws in the offensive zone.
  • Wednesday, October 16, 7:00 p.m. at Washington Capitals (Sportsnet, TSN 1050)
  • – Saturday, October 19, 7:00 p.m. vs. Boston Bruins (Sportsnet, FAN 590)
  • – Monday, October 21, 7:00 p.m. vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (Sportsnet Ontario, FAN 590)
  • – Tuesday, October 22, 7:00 p.m. at Boston Bruins (TSN4, TSN 1050)
  • – Friday, October 25, 7:00 p.m. vs. San Jose Sharks (Sportsnet Ontario, FAN 590)

“Any time you’re out there with him you just try to get open and he has the ability to make a pass or skate it himself with his speed and his agility.” — Auston Matthews on Morgan Rielly who had four assists.

Morgan Rielly: Four assists in second period ties team record for assists in one period



On the team finding a higher gear after trailing through a period: We had to. Obviously, we weren’t as good as we’d like to be in the first. I didn’t think we gave up much, to be honest with you, until they got on the power play, but I still didn’t think we were as sharp and good as we need to be. You always want to be real good at home especially and starting on time is important, so we’ve got to do a better job.

On the decision to move Moore to Tavares’ wing: I’ve just been watching it and noticing that he wants it. We just tried it and it seemed to be okay, so we just stayed with it.

On the second period as how he wants to see the team perform: Yeah, the first 15 minutes of that second period was real good. They played last night; you know what I mean? But, in saying all that – or, yesterday – it was a good 15 minutes for us. We played right; it was good.

On Rielly’s four assist performance: I understand he tied a record or something like that. Good for him. He’s a good player and is much better defensively, he’s always been good offensively. It’s important that he has good nights and feels good about himself. Any time your good players score and generate offence and that’s what they like to do, they get feeling good and your team is better.

On leaving an impression during the recruitment of Mikheyev despite the language barrier: I talked to him all year and you’re basically talking by text more than anything else and when you talk to a guy that much – or WhatsApp, whatever you call it – you’re bound to have some communication. In the end, [Mikheyev’s] understanding of the English language is fantastic anyway, he’s a very educated guy. I’ve said this a number of times, but his gal went to Boston College on a visitation or whatever. He’s been around it a lot so he’s way ahead of most guys.

On if the plan is to rotate the fourth line on the back-to-back: I don’t know what we’re going to do yet. We’ll get on the plane – that’s the good thing about it – and decide. Break down the whole game and by the time we land we’ll have a plan for tomorrow. Obviously, that’s two nights in a row our fourth line was really good for us.


On what sparked the offence in the second period: I think we wanted to get our power play going tonight. That was huge for our team to get pucks back, get pucks to the net, screening, not giving up on second opportunities. We stayed patient with our game plan and that’s something we’ve got to keep going forward with.

On his screen on Tavares’ goal: It was a great play by [Moore] leaving it for him. I just tried to get in front of the net. I didn’t really think he was going to take a slap shot right away but I saw him wind up. It was a great shot, post-in, it’s a hard one to save. That started us off.


On what led to a four-goal second period: I think our power play came up big and I think we needed that. A lot of nights that just jump starts momentum and get it back on our side. Good job by us, I think, on the power play. A couple of big goals there to kind of push the momentum on our side and we just continued to attack them.

On Rielly’s ability to make plays: Any time you’re out there with him you just try to get open and he has the ability to make a pass or skate it himself with his speed and his agility. I think any time you’re out there with a guy like that you just try to get open and get in a lane and let him dictate the play because he’s really good at it.


On joining a line with Tavares and Marner and seeing Tavares score shortly after the change: I don’t know if I had anything to do with that. I think John’s a ticking timebomb, he was going to start getting some bounces here. It was nice. A little learning curve there, but it was good.

On Tavares’ goal: I honestly didn’t see it, but I couldn’t believe that he scored from there. That’s pretty special.

On what it means to get the chance to play with Tavares and Marner: I think that [the coaching staff] hopes that I can bring something similar to what [Hyman] does – go retrieve the puck and get to the net, that kind of thing. Leave most of the skill stuff to them and just do the work.


On what clicked for the team in the second period: I think we just talked about being patient a little bit and not trying to force too much. I thought we played a good first and obviously didn’t get the results we wanted. I thought we came out and just kind of stayed the course, took advantage some power play opportunities. Other than that, I think we just played simple and played our style of hockey. Just got it in and went to work. It’s good when we can stay patient like that.

On if he liked how the team transitioned from Saturday night’s win in Detroit into tonight’s game: Yeah, I think so. We talked about our starts improving and I think we did that, even though they got one relatively early. I thought we came out good. I thought we were skating. I think there’s been periods of time where we’ve played good hockey over the course of the past couple of weeks and I think tonight was another example of that. It’s good. It’s something to build on for tomorrow night.


On his goal: I think [Moore] just made a good play when it came around to let the puck come to me and I had a bit of time. I probably had a little more time and space to even get myself a better angle, but I saw [Marner] in front, cause a good screen, and I wanted to get the puck on net. Just good timing. I hit it pretty good so glad to see it go in.

On if he let Moore know to leave it: I think he just read the play. We were coming off the bench, I believe, and he just made a great play.

On if he’s ever reluctant to shoot from that far out: Just the way the circumstances were, and my instincts when I saw Mitch in front, just to shoot it then instead of carrying it in a little bit more and maybe give the goalie a little more time or them to recover a little bit. Just put it in a good spot and Mitch had a great screen.


“You know, it’s huge, but it didn’t just start like miraculously. This has been something that’s been building since the end of May. I mean, we had our backs against the wall, and they stuck with it, and they believed in each other, and they believed that they were going to bounce back and this thing was going to turn around.” –Dave Martinez

October 14, 2019

Dave Martinez

Washington D.C. – postgame 3

Nationals 8, Cardinals 1

Q. Davey, with what Stras was able to do tonight and you’ve been around the game a long time, have you ever seen three as dominant a pitching performance in the postseason as you’ve gotten in all three of these games so far?
DAVE MARTINEZ: No, these guys, they started with Sanchez, Scherzer, and now tonight Stras. They’re feeding off each other, they really are, and it’s fun to watch.

Q. What do you mean by that, Dave, about feeding off each other as pitchers? We hear hitting is contagious. How do starters do that?
DAVE MARTINEZ: They sit there, and they watch, and they talk, and they communicate, and they get together, and they’re going over what they’ve done that helped them get successful that day. Then the next guy comes up. Even though Scherzer and Stras are hard, and Sanchez, they watch. They watch videos, and then they go out and they compete. They compete every day, and they compete amongst themselves. Like I said, it’s a lot of fun.

Q. So do you mean pregame in terms of the video study, they do it as a group kind of thing?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, they sit down, and they communicate, yeah. This is an unbelievably close group of guys, and they’re all — you know, they pull for each other. They all stand there and watch the first pitch. They don’t miss each other’s first pitch of the game, and they’re watching everything, and they’re learning from one another.

Q. That’s unique, isn’t it?
DAVE MARTINEZ: These guys — like I said, these guys, they’ve been good all year, and they’ve been behind each other all year, and when one guy seems to fail, I’ve never heard — they all congregate again, and they sit, and they get right back after it, and they pick him up. They said, here we go. Next start, we’re right there. Here we go. It’s been a lot of fun.

Q. Hey, Davey, your team obviously struggled early this year. Right now, they’re probably playing as confidently as they have all year. How important is confidence to a team’s success? And how confident are you that you can wrap up this series and go on to win a World Series?
DAVE MARTINEZ: You know, it’s huge, but it didn’t just start like miraculously. This has been something that’s been building since the end of May. I mean, we had our backs against the wall, and they stuck with it, and they believed in each other, and they believed that they were going to bounce back and this thing was going to turn around.

I’ve said it before, we’ve been playing playoff games since then. We had to play really good to come back and do the things we’ve done, and now, in September, they believed that they can do this, and they’re going out there, and they’re not taking anything for granted, and they’re playing really hard, and they’re playing to win one game every day. The big message, I say it every day, is to go 1-0 every day, and they believe that.

Q. At the pregame press conference, everybody’s asking Patrick Corbin about him relieving. It was obviously your idea to bring starters as relievers. Why did you decide to do that, and how does that affect the game?
DAVE MARTINEZ: For me, obviously, Patrick is going to start tomorrow. The other day when I put him in to face one-hitter, I went to go get him, and he actually made a comment about, you know, I could probably be a left-on-left guy, and I said, not right now you’re not. So just get your rest and be ready to pitch Game 4. And he’s ready.

But these guys, like I said, they get it. They want to do whatever they can to help us win. They believe in each other. I mean, I’ve said this before, they’re all in. They all care for each other. It’s one big family in there, and they just want to win every day.

Q. Davey, you’ve done a remarkable job of trying to keep Howie healthy all year and Zim, as well. Of course, Zim was on the IL with the foot problem, but to have both of them come up so huge in this game and Howie with three doubles tonight and three RBIs, can you just speak to what that means to the middle of that lineup?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Big. It’s huge for us. Him and Zim are both playing really well, on both sides of the ball. I know Howie’s hitting. He had his struggles in the Dodgers series, and he made a pretty good play the other day at second base. We’re getting professional at-bats from those guys. Everybody says they’re older, and I just look at him as just guys who have been around and veteran guys that have stepped up to the moment, and they’re a big reason why we’re here. Having those two guys healthy helps us out a lot.

Q. Being where he is in his career, do you get a sense of how badly Howie wants this?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He wants it, and the rest of his teammates feed off of that, and they see it. We’re all big fans of Howie. Every one of us in that clubhouse, and what he does on the field, off the field. I mean, he’s been that quiet leader for us all year long.

Q. Davey, all season long you’ve told the team, we just have to go 1-0 today, 1-0 today, and you guys have done that pretty consistently. Do you kind of allow yourself and the guys to start thinking, well, if we go 1-0 tomorrow, we go to the World Series. Do you allow yourselves to start thinking ahead of it or still 1-0?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Honestly, and I mean this sincerely, I have not thought about it yet. I’m worried about just getting through tomorrow, go 1-0 tomorrow, and we’ll see what happens then. Yeah, I never — I thought about lineups and stuff for tomorrow, and we know Pat’s going. I like the fact that we didn’t have to use Huddy or Doo today, so that was nice. So we’re prepared for tomorrow.

Q. That last inning mound conversation with Strasburg, what did he say to you, and what did you say to him?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He didn’t want to come out of the game. I was trying to explain to him, hey, you just grabbed your hamstring, so there’s a little concern. He said, no, I cramped up. It’s fine. I always cramp up. He said, I’m staying in the game. I want to finish this inning. I said, you sure you’re all right? He said, I’m in the game! And I looked at Suzuki, and Suzuki said, let him finish. I said, hey, you don’t have to twist my arm. You’re throwing the ball good, but I want to make sure you’re okay, and he was good. He finished the inning strong.

Q. There’s obviously a lot that was working for Strasburg tonight, but with his change-up specifically, what did you see there that makes that so impossible to hit?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I talked about this earlier with his change-up. For me, anybody that has a good change-up, their arm action is really good, and his was really good today. He has the same tempo as he does with his fastball, and the ball at the end just disappears, and he was really good. But I think, honestly, what made it really good today was his fastball, utilizing his fastball at the right moment made his change-up that much better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports