Maple Leafs-Capitals Preview
The Washington Capitals had plenty to take away from a rare impressive effort on the road their last time out.
They're surely hoping to see their momentum carry over to home ice, where they've also posted lackluster results of late.
The Capitals try to avoid a fourth loss in five games at the Verizon Center when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.
Washington (14-12-1) entered Wednesday in the midst of a 3-8-1 skid, a stretch during which it went 2 for 43 on the power play. The Capitals, though, earned an encouraging 5-3 win at Ottawa, scoring four times in the third period in recording their highest goal output in more than a month.
Washington's 1-for-4 effort with the man advantage snapped an 0-for-13 drought. The Capitals, who converted a NHL best-tying 23.0 percent of their power-play opportunities over the previous three seasons, rank in the bottom third of the league at 15.2 percent.
"I'm not saying we're away to the races on the power play," forward Troy Brouwer told the team's official website, "because we had a full two-minute power play and weren't able to score. We've still got work to do, but definitely a step in the right direction."
Brouwer had a goal and an assist Wednesday.
Washington snapped a five-game road losing streak, scored its first road power play goal in more than a month and posted its first road victory when trailing after 40 minutes.
"That's a good three things to have," coach Dale Hunter said. "But we don't quit ... We still keep battling and it paid off (Wednesday).
Washington improved to 2-3-0 under Hunter but now returns home, where it has gone 3-4-1 in its last eight contests. A victory over the Senators on Saturday snapped a season-high three-game home skid.
The Capitals had gone 4-0-1 in their last five against the Maple Leafs (15-10-3) coming into this season, but fell 7-1 at Toronto on Nov. 19 for their most lopsided defeat of 2011-12. Seven Maple Leafs scored and Jonas Gustavsson made 40 saves.
The busy Leafs fell 3-2 in overtime to New Jersey on Tuesday, their third game in four days. Toronto surrendered two power-play goals in the first period and has gone 1-2-1 in four contests since a three-game win streak.
"Playing a lot of games in just a short amount of days and then the travel last night and then to be down 2-0, we could have thrown in the towel and gave up and we didn't," said James Reimer, who made 23 saves. "I thought we dominated for most of the last two periods and that shows a ton about our team. We deserved the two points but we for sure deserved the one point."
Reimer, who was 4-0-1 with a 2.55 goals-against average prior to suffering an undisclosed injury Oct. 22, is 0-1-1 with a 3.42 GAA since returning from a nearly six-week absence. He made 39 saves in his only career appearance against the Caps, a 3-2 shootout loss April 5.
Washington's Tomas Vokoun stopped 31 shots Wednesday. He won his first seven home starts before dropping his last two despite allowing two goals each time.
Vokoun had won five of seven previous meetings with Toronto while with Florida before giving up four goals and getting pulled in last month's matchup.
Leafs forward Clarke MacArthur, listed as day-to-day, could miss his second straight game with an upper body injury.
Toronto has won four of five away from home, outscoring opponents 20-8 in the victories.