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Maple Leafs, Flames look to bounce back on TSN double-header

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The Sports Network
11/3/2010 11:40:47 AM
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(Sports Network) - Now that it appears Alex Ovechkin's scoring drought is a thing of the past, the Russian superstar and his Washington Capitals will try to build off a dominating offensive performance when they host the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at Verizon Center.

It's a game that you can catch as the top-half of a great NHL on TSN double-header starting at 7pm et/4pm pt.

Ovechkin had gone five straight games without a goal in the middle of October before scoring late in a 2-1 loss to Minnesota last Thursday. The two-time Hart and Rocket Richard trophy winner then posted two goals and an assist in Saturday's 7-2 thrashing of the Flames in Calgary.

The Capitals used a six-goal second period to dominate the Flames at the Saddledome. Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and three assists for the Capitals, while Mike Green and Alexander Semin each recorded a goal and two helpers.

Michal Neuvirth made 27 saves in the victory -- the third in four games for the Capitals.

"The power play started going and the guys were feeding off of that," Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It was a rocky beginning but I thought it was a great end. We got every bounce known to man."

The Capitals were 3-for-4 on the man advantage and are now 7-for-42 (16.7 percent) on the power play this season.

Saturday's victory allowed Washington to wrap up a three-game road trip with a 2-1-0 record. The Caps, who are 4-1-0 in D.C. this year, will kick off a three-game homestand tonight and will also face Boston and Philadelphia during the residency.

Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs have dropped three straight and six of their last seven contests (1-5-1) since opening the season with a 4-0 start. Toronto's latest setback came Tuesday night against visiting Ottawa, as the Senators jumped out to a three-goal lead and held on for a 3-2 decision at Air Canada Centre.

Clarke MacArthur contributed a goal with an assist and Jean-Sebastien Giguere allowed three goals on 24 shots in the losing effort. Francois Beauchemin also tallied for the Maple Leafs.

"When we finally scored, we relaxed a little bit, and you could see the difference," said Toronto head coach Ron Wilson. "We just got to build on it. We're so caught up in this thing we can't score ... we're so tight and not relaxing around the net."

The Maple Leafs also lost star defenseman Dion Phaneuf to a deep cut suffered in Tuesday's game. Phaneuf will not play in tonight's game.

The Capitals and Maple Leafs split four meetings last year, but Washington pounded Toronto, 6-1, the last time the clubs played on Jan. 15. That game, which was also staged in D.C., featured a four-assist, five-point performance by Ovechkin, who has 32 points (18 goals, 14 assists) in 19 career games against the Leafs.

Toronto has still taken five of nine overall in this series, but the Caps have won three of four and five of the last seven encounters in D.C.

Detroit Red Wings (6-2-1) vs. Calgary Flames (6-5-0)

Fresh off a winning homestand, the Detroit Red Wings hit the road for the first time in over two weeks this evening as they begin a three-game tour of western Canada with a stop in Calgary to take on the Flames.

Catch the action as the back-half of an NHL on TSN double-header following the Leafs and Capitals game at 9:30pm et/6:30pm pt.

The Red Wings head to the Saddledome off a 3-1-0 homestand that concluded with Saturday's 5-2 victory over the Predators. Pavel Datsyuk notched a pair of goals and an assist, while Patrick Eaves, Brad Stuart and Tomas Holmstrom each scored as well.

With Jimmy Howard out a second straight game due to back spasms, Chris Osgood made 23 saves as Detroit captured its fourth win in five games.

"It was a good bounce-back game for him," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock about Osgood. "He played well in the second period and held us in there. It's important that he plays real well for us when he gets his chance to start and he did that tonight."

Osgood, though, left Monday's practice with a groin injury that leaves him day-to-day. Howard is expected to return from his injury and start tonight however, while Joey MacDonald will continue to be the backup.

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is also slated to return to action tonight in Detroit's first road game since Oct. 16. He has been out since the season- opener due to back spasms.

The Flames finish up a five-game homestand this evening and have dropped two straight on the residency following a three-game win streak. They scored the first two goals of Saturday's meeting with the Capitals, getting tallies from Curtis Glencross and Olli Jokinen, but then allowed three straight power-play goals on the way to a 7-2 setback.

"We actually played a real good first period, as good of a period as we've played all year," Flames head coach Brent Sutter said. "When you put a team like that on a 5-on-3 you're in dangerous territory and they certainly capitalized on it. We took some bad penalties and they nailed us for it."

Miikka Kiprusoff turned aside 21-of-27 shots and was briefly lifted in the second period. However, backup Henrik Karlsson failed to stop the only shot he saw and Kiprusoff returned to the action.

Calgary could have forward David Moss in the lineup for the first time this season as he has been out with a shoulder injury.

The Red Wings picked up a 4-2 home win over the Flames on Oct. 21, their eighth in the last 13 meetings. Howard made 34 saves in that one to even his record to 2-2-0 with a 2.27 goals-against average versus Calgary.

Detroit has won two straight and four of the last six at the Saddledome.

Kiprusoff, who allowed all four goals on 30 shots in the first meeting, is 10-11-1 with a tie and 2.77 GAA when facing the Red Wings.

 

Phil Kessel and Tom Poti (Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images)
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