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National Hockey League

NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, January 31st (All times Eastern)

Washington Capitals (1-4-1) at Toronto Maple Leafs (3-3-0), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs open a three-game homestand on Thursday evening looking for their first victory of the season at Air Canada Centre as they welcome the struggling Washington Capitals.

Toronto has split its first six games of the campaign, losing both home games while allowing nine goals in the setbacks. The club did snap a two-game slide on Tuesday by picking up a 4-3 overtime victory in Buffalo.

Matt Frattin scored a pair of goals versus the Sabres, including the game- winner with just 1.5 seconds left in overtime. He took an outlet pass up the left boards and cruised towards the net before slipping a shot past Buffalo's Ryan Miller inside the near post.

"I guess you've got to feel fortunate to get the extra point when you can score with under two seconds left," said Toronto coach Randy Carlyle. "It was a great individual effort by Matt Frattin. ... He put it the one place it could go and we were lucky to sneak the extra point out."

Jay McClement and Cody Franson added goals for Toronto, while James Reimer stopped 29 shots in the victory.

Already without Clarke MacArthur (lacerated finger) and Mike Komisarek (eye) due to injury, Toronto's Mike Brown exited the game early due to an upper-body injury.

All three are questionable for this meeting with the Capitals, who sit at just 1-4-1 on the season. They failed to build off their first win of the campaign, a 3-2 triumph over the Sabres on Sunday, and were dispatched by the same score on Tuesday against Ottawa.

Troy Brouwer and Matt Hendricks scored first-period goals for the Caps, but the Senators tallied late in the second, early in the third and then scored the winner with 2:30 to play after Joel Ward was called for high sticking.

"You never want to give up goals late in the period or late in the game," said Brouwer. "This was a tough one for us to lose tonight but we'll get back together and see if we can't figure this out."

Michal Neuvirth made 24 stops in the loss.

Washington has won three straight and is 7-1-1 in its past nine versus the Maple Leafs. The Caps have won three of the last four played in Toronto.

01/31 10:30:30 ET

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