Final SO

Series (Game 1 of 4)

Washington leads 3-1

Game 1: Wednesday, November 3rd
Maple Leafs4Final
Game 2: Monday, December 6th
Maple Leafs5Final
Game 3: Saturday, January 22nd
Maple Leafs1
Game 4: Tuesday, April 5th
Maple Leafs2

Maple Leafs 4

(5-5-2, 12 pts)

Capitals 5

(8-4-0, 16 pts)

Coverage: NHL

7:00 PM ET, November 3, 2010

Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia

1 2 3 SO T
TOR 1 0 3 04
WSH 0 3 1 15

A. Semin (Capitals - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

J. Chimera (Capitals - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

T. Kaberle (Maple Leafs - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Maple Leafs-Capitals Preview


The Washington Capitals are known for having one of the most potent offenses in the league, but it is their goaltending that has them off to a solid start in 2010-11.

The Capitals will look for a third straight win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on their home ice Wednesday night.

Michal Neuvirth, who is expected to be in goal against Toronto, is tied for the league lead with seven wins, and his 2.15 goals-against average ranks second among goaltenders with 10 or more starts.

Neuvirth was named October's rookie of the month, becoming just the third goaltender in franchise history to earn the award.

"He's an unbelievable goalie, I think," defenseman John Carlson told the team's official website. "He's proven himself. We all know his ability here. He's so calm and so collected. He never gets too rattled.

"I think some goalies they get scored on and they get flustered. He's one of those guys who doesn't get flustered and stays focused for 60 minutes every night. You can't ask much more out of your goalie than that."

Neuvirth made 27 saves in Washington's 7-2 win over Calgary on Saturday -- the eighth time he's allowed two goals or less as a starter.

He surrendered a career-worst six goals against the Maple Leafs in his only start against them Dec. 12, 2009, but is looking forward to Wednesday night's matchup.

"I just have to focus on my game, obviously they haven't scored a lot of goals lately and will probably shoot at every opportunity," he said. "I need to make sure I'm ready for every shot, I need to be ready the whole time."

Offensively, the Capitals (7-4-0) were led by Alexander Ovechkin, who netted his first two power-play goals this season and also added an assist for his second three-point performance.

After leading the league with a 25.2 power-play percentage in 2009-10, the Capitals are converting on 16.7 percent of their opportunities with the man advantage.

"The whole time I have said we have the skills," said Ovechkin of the team's power-play struggles. "We have the best skills in the league and sometimes we just didn't use it."

Ovechkin, who has a three-game points streak, leads the team with seven goals and 13 points.

While Washington continues to surge, the Maple Leafs can't seem to snap out of their funk.

After starting the season 4-0, Toronto has lost three straight and six of seven following a 3-2 defeat to Ottawa on Tuesday night. The Maple Leafs (5-5-1) fell behind early before battling back to score two third-period goals as they avoided getting shut out for the third consecutive game.

"Well, it's dried up a lot," general manager Brian Burke said of the team's inability to score. "Obviously, we're having trouble putting the puck in the net right now. I have nothing pending that might solve that. We're going to have to solve it internally for now."

Captain and top defenseman Dion Phaneuf left the game with a cut on his left leg, and coach Ron Wilson said he "probably won't be available" against the Capitals. He is tied for second on the team with four assists.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 21 saves as he dropped to 4-3-1. He is 3-3-1 despite a 2.17 GAA and two shutouts versus Washington over his career.


Research Notes

The Maple Leafs have allowed penalty shot goals in consecutive games. In the last 35 years, they are just the 4th team to allow in 2 straight games. That is an active streak which they will put on the line tonight when they face the Capitals.

ESPN Stats & Information