CAPITALS (1-4-1) at MAPLE LEAFS (3-3-0)
TV: CSN-DC, SNET-Ontario
Season series: This is the first of three games this season. The Capitals seek to extend their winning streak against the Maple Leafs to four games.
Big story: Even in a shortened season, there's no reason to panic with just six games in the books. But Washington needs to turn the tide quickly or it will wind up behind the eight ball. With only three points and no wins in three road games this season, the Capitals try to stop a Maple Leafs team coming off an exciting overtime win with just two seconds remaining against Buffalo on Tuesday.
Capitals: A complete 60-minute effort by the Capitals has been rare in the early going, and their most recent loss Tuesday at Ottawa was another example of their struggle to maintain a lead. Troy Brouwer and Matt Hendricks staked Washington to an early 2-0 surplus and the team kept up the intensity well into the second period until the Senators' Jim O'Brien scored with just over a minute left. Milan Michalek then tied it within the first two minutes of the third and the Capitals were finally done in by a Joel Ward penalty and a Sergei Gonchar game-winner in the closing minutes of regulation.
Despite the recently rough road, first-year coach Adam Oates is upbeat.
"On the road, if you're up 2-1 after two, you're in a great position," Oates told the Caps' official dunp 'n chase blog. "We were playing great hockey. They had one [scoring] chance, really. All game long they only had six [scoring] chances five-on-five, so we did a lot of good things."
Maple Leafs: Toronto needed a solid effort in its last game Tuesday at Buffalo after losses to the Islanders and Rangers in which the Leafs surrendered two-goal leads. Forward Matt Frattin made his case for staying with the big-league club as the sometime AHL player tallied a goal in regulation and scored his second in dramatic fashion, making a nifty move past defenseman Jordan Peopold and slipping a quick wrister past goalie Ryan Miller with just 1.5 seconds left in OT to win it for the Maple Leafs.
Who's hot: Center Mike Ribeiro has a goal and two assists over his last three games for the Capitals. … Frattin has scored three goals in three games since being called up from the AHL's Toronto Marlies last Thursday.
Injury report: Forward Brooks Laich (groin) and defenseman Jack Hillen (upper body) are out for the Capitals. … The Maple Leafs are without forward Joffrey Lupul (broken forearm). Forward Clarke MacArthur sat out again Tuesday with a lacerated pinkie, while defenseman Mike Komisarek seeks to return soon after getting a sliver of fiberglass removed from his eye following practice Monday.
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