Final SO

Series (Game 4 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

Capitals 3

(47-22-11, 105 pts)

Maple Leafs 2

(37-32-11, 85 pts)

7:00 PM ET, April 5, 2011

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 SO T
WSH 1 1 0 13
TOR 1 1 0 02

J. Reimer (Maple Leafs - G): Saves: 39, Save Pct.: .951

A. Ovechkin (Capitals - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

N. Kulemin (Maple Leafs - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Capitals-Maple Leafs Preview


Winning the Presidents' Trophy last year didn't help the offensive-minded Washington Capitals much come playoff time.

Despite a victory its last time out, Washington is hoping to get back to its rugged style of play as it pursues the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference for the second consecutive season.

On the verge of clinching a fourth straight Southeast Division title, the Capitals will try for a 15th win in 18 games Tuesday night when they visit a Toronto Maple Leafs team barely holding on in the playoff race.

With an NHL-best 121 points and 3.8 goals per game last season, Washington (46-22-11) earned home ice throughout the postseason.

The Capitals, though, became the first No. 1 seed to blow a 3-1 series lead against a No. 8 and were eliminated by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round.

As a result, coach Bruce Boudreau changed up the team's style of play to focus more on defense.

While Washington is averaging 1.1 goals less than it did last season, its 2.35 goals-against average ranks in the league's top five. The Capitals finished 16th in the NHL in 2009-10 with a 2.77 GAA.

Washington beat Buffalo 5-4 in overtime Saturday to move into a tie with Philadelphia atop the East with 103 points, but the Capitals don't own the tiebreaker since they have fewer regulation and overtime wins than the Flyers.

While Boudreau was pleased with the victory, he wasn't happy with the pace of the game.

"I thought it was way too close to looking like last year," he said. "We sort of have to buckle down."

Michal Neuvirth made 34 saves as Washington improved to just 5-8-3 when allowing at least four goals. Neuvirth has gone 8-1-0 in his last 10 starts overall, but he is 1-1-1 with a 4.43 GAA in three lifetime starts against Toronto.

"It's nice to score goals, and we want to score goals," forward Brooks Laich said, "but we don't want to get into 5-4 hockey games like we were last year where we have to score five goals to win."

Alex Ovechkin, who scored the winning goal and tallied two assists Saturday, recorded a hat trick in a 4-1 win at Toronto on Jan. 22. He has recorded 11 goals and 11 assists over a nine-game point streak against the Leafs, helping his team to five wins -- including two in three meetings this season.

Toronto (37-32-10), meanwhile, is 10th in the East and defeated Ottawa 4-2 on the road Saturday night for its sixth win in seven games.

The Leafs are six points behind eighth-place Buffalo for the final playoff spot in the East but could potentially hold the tiebreaker over the Sabres. Both teams have three games remaining.

"We've just got to keep winning games," said center Tyler Bozak, who scored a goal Saturday. "We're focused on winning in our room and we believe we can so we've got three big ones coming up."

Toronto, which closes out its season with matchups against New Jersey and Montreal, is 3-1-0 in its last four at home despite going 0 for 12 on the power play.

James Reimer made 23 saves Saturday and has gone 7-1-0 with one shutout and a 2.11 GAA in his last eight starts.

Forward Phil Kessel notched his team-leading 30th goal Saturday to extend his scoring streak to a season-best seven games.