Caps return home to face Maple Leafs
Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 12:13 AM
Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing EditorMAPLE LEAFS (30-30-8) at CAPITALS (34-28-6)
RDSI (HD), SNET-O, CSN-MA
Toronto 1-7-2; Washington 5-4-1.
This is the fourth and final meeting between the clubs. The Caps have won two of the first three matchups, including a 4-2 victory at the Air Canada Centre on Feb. 25.
It's been a dogfight for Washington all season long, but it enters Sunday's action with a two-point lead on both Winnipeg and Buffalo for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Caps moved two points ahead of the Jets and Sabres and six ahead of Toronto with Saturday's 4-3 win at Boston.
"We are worried about our overall record and it is what it is," Washington forward Brooks Laich told NHL.com after the victory. "We've just got to approach the games, just focus on today. I think that we play five of our next six on the road, but that wasn't in nobody's mind today. It was come here and try to get the job done. I'm happy with the guys. I thought we played a really good game and they should be proud of themselves. We'll get out of here, get back and then do it again (Sunday)."
Offense was hard to come by at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night, as Toronto suffered a 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all 29 shots he faced from the Leafs -- including all three in the shootout.
The Leafs have won only once in their last 10 games and find themselves six points behind Washington for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
"I think we had a couple more chances than they did," defenseman Mike Komisarek
said. "We'd like to win that special teams battle at the end of the night. Once our power-play guys got established in the zone, I thought they were creating things. This time of year, I think everyone is relied on to find a way to break through with special teams."
Washington was unable to hold a 2-0 lead, but managed to score another pair of goals and hung on for a 4-3 win against the defending Stanley Cup champs at TD Garden on Saturday afternoon. Alexander Semin had a goal and an assist, while Tomas Vokoun made 30 saves.
"We got some scoring early and we held on at the end," Caps coach Dale Hunter said. "Tomas was strong at the end and we kept them out.”
Laich has 2 goals in his last three games for Washington.
Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul
is out 3-4 weeks with a separated shoulder, while Colby Armstrong
(broken nose) is day-to-day. … The Caps will be without Nicklas Backstrom (concussion) and Tom Poti (groin).
Vokoun reached the 25-win plateau for the seventh time in his career with Saturday's victory.
"Obviously, scoring four goals is a key for us. Sometimes we play good games but when you don't score, it's tough to win. We buried our chances today. That's usually the difference. Usually when we lose, [it's because] we are not able to score or we score one goal and it's tough to win like that." -- Washington goalie Tomas Vokoun