The Toronto Maple Leafs host the struggling Washington Capitals at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday.
After a couple of awful performances the Toronto Maple Leafs bounced back with a solid road victory over their Northeast Division rivals. Jay McClement gave the Leafs a 1-0 lead in the first period that would hold up until Jason Pominville tied things on the power play for the Buffalo Sabres. The Maple Leafs would surrender an early second period goal and fall behind by a score of 2-1 but they’d answer almost immediately. Matt Fratin’s second goal of the year came just over a minute after Buffalo had taken the lead and Cody Franson’s first of the season less than three minutes later made it a 3-2 Toronto lead. One of the three goals that James Reimer would allow came in the third period and allowed the Sabres to tie the game and send it into overtime. It looked like we were heading for a shootout when Frattin put home his second of the game with two seconds remaining to give Toronto the 4-3 win. Reimer finished the game with 29 saves on the night. Now they’ll return home and try to add to the early season misery of the Washington Capitals.
After coming together for their first victory of the season on Sunday afternoon against the Sabres, the Washington Capitals got right back to their losing ways in painful fashion. Troy Brouwer and Matt Hendricks each scored their second goals of the season in the first period on Tuesday night, but the Capitals couldn’t muster any offense after that. The goals gave the Caps a 2-0 lead and some early confidence, but their inability to build on it proved to be what ultimately did them in. The Ottawa Senators scored once in the second period and just 2:20 into the third period to tie the score. The game would remain tied until a Sergei Gonchar power play goal would end up winning it for the Senators with under three minutes to play. Michal Neuvirth took the loss after allowing three goals on 27 shots. His record drops to 1-2-1 with a save percentage of just .889 and a save percentage up around three. The Capitals just haven’t looked good at all to start the year and it was another invisible game from their captain Alex Ovechkin. This might be one of those situations that just doesn’t work out well for the Capitals. They’re having trouble adjusting to new coach Adam Oates’ system and with the shortened season they better figure it out quickly or else the playoffs will be in jeopardy.
Washington is 5-1 the last six meetings in this series. The home team is 9-4 the last 13 meetings overall. The Over is 7-3 the last 10.
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