NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, November 3rd
(All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (5-5-1) at Washington Capitals (7-4-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Now that it appears Alex Ovechkin's scoring drought is a
thing of the past, the Russian superstar and his Washington Capitals will try
to build off a dominating offensive performance when they host the struggling
Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at Verizon Center.
Ovechkin had gone five straight games without a goal in the middle of October
before scoring late in a 2-1 loss to Minnesota last Thursday. The two-time
Hart and Rocket Richard trophy winner then posted two goals and an assist in
Saturday's 7-2 thrashing of the Flames in Calgary.
The Capitals used a six-goal second period to dominate the Flames at the
Saddledome. Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and three assists for the Capitals,
while Mike Green and Alexander Semin each recorded a goal and two helpers.
Michal Neuvirth made 27 saves in the victory -- the third in four games for
"The power play started going and the guys were feeding off of that," Capitals
head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It was a rocky beginning but I thought it was
a great end. We got every bounce known to man."
The Capitals were 3-for-4 on the man advantage and are now 7-for-42 (16.7
percent) on the power play this season.
Saturday's victory allowed Washington to wrap up a three-game road trip with a
2-1-0 record. The Caps, who are 4-1-0 in D.C. this year, will kick off a
three-game homestand tonight and will also face Boston and Philadelphia during
Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs have dropped three straight and six of their last
seven contests (1-5-1) since opening the season with a 4-0 start. Toronto's
latest setback came Tuesday night against visiting Ottawa, as the Senators
jumped out to a three-goal lead and held on for a 3-2 decision at Air Canada
Clarke MacArthur contributed a goal with an assist and Jean-Sebastien Giguere
allowed three goals on 24 shots in the losing effort. Francois Beauchemin also
tallied for the Maple Leafs.
"When we finally scored, we relaxed a little bit, and you could see the
difference," said Toronto head coach Ron Wilson. "We just got to build on it.
We're so caught up in this thing we can't score ... we're so tight and not
relaxing around the net."
The Maple Leafs also lost star defenseman Dion Phaneuf to a deep cut suffered
in Tuesday's game. Phaneuf will not play in tonight's game.
The Capitals and Maple Leafs split four meetings last year, but Washington
pounded Toronto, 6-1, the last time the clubs played on Jan. 15. That game,
which was also staged in D.C., featured a four-assist, five-point performance
by Ovechkin, who has 32 points (18 goals, 14 assists) in 19 career games
against the Leafs.
Toronto has still taken five of nine overall in this series, but the Caps have
won three of four and five of the last seven encounters in D.C.
11/03 10:53:31 ET