Capitals-Maple Leafs Preview
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven't dropped consecutive home games this season.
The Maple Leafs will look to continue their trend of bouncing back from losses on their home ice Saturday night against the Washington Capitals.
Toronto (13-8-1) had won five straight home games before Thursday's 4-2 loss to Nashville. Peter Holland gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead in the first period, but the Predators scored four unanswered goals starting in the second before Nazem Kadri's tally with 4:32 remaining in the game pulled Toronto within two.
"We were flat after the first period," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "We didn't seem to have any energy, we didn't seem to have any enthusiasm. It just seemed like the game turned, and then we couldn't get it back."
The loss marked the sixth time in the last eight games that Toronto managed two goals or less.
Leading scorer Phil Kessel has gone without a point in seven of his last nine.
Center Tyler Bozak missed his 11th straight game with a hamstring injury but has been practicing and said he hopes to play against the Capitals.
"They play a lot of offense, a lot of run and gun," Bozak said. "They're a fast team. They can put the puck in the net. They got great players up front and on the back end so, I mean, we've got to limit turnovers as much as we can against guys like that because they thrive off it."
The Maple Leafs have only had six power-play opportunities in their last three games, but they've converted three of them as they continue to be one of the league's best teams with the man advantage (23.6 percent).
The Capitals (12-10-1) are just ahead of them at 24.2 percent.
Washington defenseman Mike Green returned from injured reserve in Friday's 3-2 loss to Montreal after missing the last three games with a lower-body injury.
The Capitals fell behind 3-0 in the first period two nights after a 4-0 loss to Pittsburgh.
"We have to have better starts," forward Troy Brouwer told the team's official website. "We can't expect to win games if we're down 3-0."
Capitals coach Adam Oates isn't looking at it in a two-game context.
"You look at our record and we're 7-2 in November," said Oates, whose team is actually 7-3-1 this month. "If we won that game the other night, we're the hottest team in the league in November, so you have to put that in perspective sometimes."
Alex Ovechkin scored both of Washington's goals and leads the league with 19 after getting six in his last five games.
The Maple Leafs are one of five teams he's scored 25 career regular-season goals against, and he's done it in just 30 games. The Capitals' star right wing has 15 goals in 15 career games at Air Canada Centre - the only NHL arena he's played more than 10 games in with an average of a goal a game.
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby got the night off against the Canadiens. He's 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .970 save percentage in his career against Toronto.
The Maple Leafs went 2-1 against Washington last season, winning the only meeting in Toronto. The teams last met in Washington's 5-1 home win on April 16, a game in which current Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski scored his final goal as a member of the Leafs.