Final SO

Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Saturday, October 3rd
Maple Leafs4Final
Game 2: Saturday, November 21st
Maple Leafs2
Game 3: Saturday, December 12th
Maple Leafs6
Game 4: Friday, January 15th
Maple Leafs1Final

Capitals 1

(13-5-5, 31 pts)

Maple Leafs 2

(4-11-6, 14 pts)

Coverage: NHL

7:00 PM ET, November 21, 2009

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 SO T
WSH 1 0 0 01
TOR 0 1 0 12

V. Toskala (Maple Leafs - G): Saves: 31, Save Pct.: .969

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

S. Varlamov (Capitals - G): Saves: 38, Save Pct.: .974

Capitals-Maple Leafs Preview


Despite losing their last game, the Washington Capitals own the NHL's best home record. Starting a difficult stretch on the road, however, couldn't come against a weaker opponent.

On Saturday night, the banged-up Southeast Division leaders face the league-worst Toronto Maple Leafs, who will try to avoid dropping their sixth in a row.

Washington came away with its first home loss in regulation since Oct. 8 after falling 3-2 Friday to Montreal. Eric Fehr and Brendan Morrison scored for the Capitals (13-5-4), the league leaders with 81 goals.

Playing in his second game after missing six with an upper body injury, Alex Ovechkin logged almost 23 1/2 minutes and took five of the Capitals' 34 shots. He failed to record a point, though, for the fourth time this season.

Michal Neuvirth -- a surprise starter in goal -- finished with 19 saves in his season debut. Jose Theodore was not with the team due to personal reasons while Semyon Varlamov was given the night off but should start this game.

"The biggest thing was I didn't think we were ready at the start of the game. We were flat. ... We went out there and thought it was going to be an easy win," said Washington coach Bruce Boudreau.

Still, the Capitals are 7-2-3 at the Verizon Center, including a 6-4 win over Toronto on Oct. 3. Ovechkin, the two-time reigning league MVP, scored 1:17 into the game and added two assists while Alexander Semin scored his first two goals of the season and had an assist.

Now, Boudreau's club will play 11 of its next 14 on the road, where it owns a 6-3-1 record. The Caps will begin the trip short-handed.

Tom Poti left early Friday with an upper body injury, joining Semin (wrist), Mike Knuble (broken finger), Boyd Gordon (back), Milan Jurcina (lower body), Quintin Laing (broken jaw) and Shaone Morrisonn (upper body) among the wounded.

In a matchup involving the NHL's two weakest teams Thursday, Toronto (3-11-6) fell alone into the cellar in heartbreaking fashion.

The Maple Leafs led 3-0 after one period against Carolina and were seconds away from ending their skid. Rookie Jonas Gustavsson, though, gave up the tying goal to Erik Cole at 19:57 and failed to stop both shooters in the tiebreaker en route to a 6-5 loss.

"We definitely let one get away there," said Matt Stajan, who scored his fifth goal. "It's been the story all year. ... Nothing's going right. We score a goal late, it seems like things are going to turn, and they get one with 2 seconds left. I'm kind of at a loss for words."

Alexei Ponikarovsky, who had a goal and an assist, tried to explain what's next for the floundering Original Six team.

"Where do you go? You go back to Toronto, you go to sleep, you wake up the next morning and you go to the practice, you stay focused on whatever needs to be done," he said. "Same old things again, all over. Just get ready for the next game and go out and win the next one."

Toronto is 1-6-2 at the Air Canada Center this season, and has alternated losses and wins in its last six home games against the Capitals.

Ponikarovsky and Mikhail Grabovski each had a goal and an assist in the loss at Washington last month.

Toronto could be without enforcer Colton Orr (foot), according to the team's official Web site. He leads the club with 59 penalty minutes.