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Leafs hope to end skid at Washington

by Brian Compton
MAPLE LEAFS (5-5-1) at CAPITALS (7-4-0)

TV: NHL Network (U.S.), TSN, CSN-DC.

Last 10: Toronto 4-5-1; Washington 7-3-0.

Season series -- This is the first of four meetings between the teams. They split the season series in 2009-10, with the Capitals scoring 12 goals in their two victories.

Big story -- Not only is Toronto coming up empty in the wins department as of late, but the Leafs are experiencing an extremely difficult time finding the back of the net. They were being shut out through 40 minutes on Tuesday night before scoring twice in a 3-2 loss against the Ottawa Senators at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto was blanked in its previous two games.

Team Scope:

Maple Leafs -- After storming out of the gate with four straight wins, the Leafs are suddenly a .500 hockey club. Not only did the skid reach three games Tuesday night, but the Leafs also lost defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who left with an injury to his left leg after getting tangled with Ottawa's Peter Regin early in the second period.

"He's got a cut on his leg and it was deep enough that they wanted to take him to the hospital to determine the extent of the injuries and that's the last I've heard," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said after the game."He probably won't be available for tomorrow. You can't replace Dion and what he brings to the team, but other people have to step up in a leadership role and be vocal."

Capitals -- After suffering a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night, Washington bounced back in a big way Saturday, when they pummeled the Calgary Flames in a 7-2 victory at Scotiabank Saddledome. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and Mike Green all enjoyed multi-point games. Washington scored six times in the second period.

"That's us," Green said after the win. "That's us at our best, for sure. And now we need to keep playing like that throughout the season. We're going to have our ups and downs, but it's good for us to have a game like that we can build off.

"I think it was important that we came out and played strong tonight. Last game, we were really disappointed with our game. We didn't get off to the start we wanted, but we stuck to the system and we played a consistent game and that's what happens when we do that."

Who's hot -- Clarke MacArthur scored for the Leafs in the final minute of Tuesday's loss. It was his seventh goal of the season. MacArthur, who also had an assist, scored 16 goals last season between Atlanta and Buffalo. … Ovechkin leads the Caps with 13 points (7 goals, 6 assists) in 11 games, while goaltender Michal Neuvirth was named NHL Rookie of the Month after going 7-3-0 with a 2.15 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in October.

Injury report -- Besides Phaneuf, the Leafs are also without forward Colby Armstrong due to a broken finger. Armstrong is expected to miss the entire month of November. … Caps defenseman Tom Poti (lower body), goalie Semyon Varlamov (groin) and center Marcus Johansson (hip) are all considered day-to-day.

Stat pack -- With his goal in the third period Tuesday night, Leafs defenseman Francois Beauchemin ended Toronto's scoring drought at 167 minutes and 39 seconds. It was the franchise's longest since 1927. … Washington's six-goal second period on Saturday night came on just 14 shots. They scored two goals 12 seconds apart, another pair 13 seconds apart and also scored a rare shorthanded penalty shot goal by David Steckel.

Puck drop -- "We're disappointed, but they're fixable things. We've gotten in a little bit of a scoring slump. In the third period, we started to come out of it … and that's a good thing." -- Leafs coach Ron Wilson after Tuesday's 3-2 loss to Ottawa
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