NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, December 6th
(All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (9-12-4) at Washington Capitals (18-8-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs ended a four-game losing streak
their last time out and will now try to extend Washington's current funk when
they visit the Capitals tonight at Verizon Center.
After notching a shootout victory over visiting Boston on Saturday, the Maple
Leafs will try this evening to win consecutive games for the first time since
The Capitals, meanwhile, have lost two in a row and the Southeast Division
leaders will try to avoid just their second three-game slide of the year.
Washington, which has dropped both games in regulation during the current
skid, went 0-2-1 from Nov. 19-22.
However, Washington still enters today with 38 points, tying the Caps with
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for the most points in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto, on the other hand, is tied with Florida for 12th in the East with 22
The Maple Leafs notched a 3-2 victory over Boston on Saturday as former Bruin
Phil Kessel notched the winner in the shootout. Kessel began the third and
final round by firing between the pads of Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, and
the force of the shot carried Thomas into the net and the puck over the goal
Michael Ryder then clanged his shot off the left post to end the game.
Carl Gunnarsson scored and Kris Versteeg tallied inside the final minute of
regulation for the Maple Leafs. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 25 saves to
register his first victory since November 16.
"This one hopefully gets us out of the hole we've been in," said Kessel. "It
was a big one."
The Maple Leafs have an awful 2-7-1 road record this year and have lost eight
in a row away from Toronto. Toronto's last road victory came against the New
York Rangers on Oct. 15.
The Capitals have a stellar 12-2-1 record as the host this year, but they were
dealt a home loss Saturday by Atlanta. Ondrej Pavelec turned aside 45 shots
to lead the Thrashers to the 3-1 victory in D.C.
Alex Ovechkin scored the lone goal for Washington, while Semyon Varlamov was
charged with all three goals on 33 shots for the Capitals.
"We didn't get very many second shots on Pavelec tonight," said Washington
head coach Bruce Boudreau. "You can take 100 perimeter shots and it looks
great on the stats, but if you're not fighting to get in front and get those
rebounds then you're not going to win."
The Caps will try to bounce back tonight in the second test of a four-game
Ovechkin scored the winner in a shootout victory over the Leafs when they
clubs met back in D.C. on Nov. 3. Washington has won five of nine in the
series overall, while Toronto has lost three straight, four of five and six of
its last eight at the Verizon Center.
12/06 10:38:38 ET