Struggling Caps shoot for needed win vs. Leafs

With losses in three of their last four games and a 2-6-1 record on the season, the Washington Capitals hope to build some momentum on Tuesday against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.

Washington enters this contest with wins in five of the last seven meetings against Toronto and the Maple Leafs have been defeated in five of their previous six trips to the Verizon Center.

The Capitals are capping a three-game homestand in this contest after opening the stretch with Friday's 3-2 win over Philadelphia. Washington then lost a 6-3 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, as Chris Kunitz posted four goals for the visitors.

Mike Ribeiro had a goal and an assist for the Caps on Sunday. Mike Green and John Carlson also scored, while Braden Holtby gave up all six goals on 26 shots.

"The pucks that we were able to get on net weren't really good chances and they were able to cover the rebounds," said Green. "For the most part it was one-and-done for us every time we got the puck into the zone."

The loss dropped Washington's record at home this season to 2-3-0. Following Tuesday's test, the Caps will play four of their next five games on the road, where the club is 0-3-1 so far.

The Capitals once again will be without defenseman John Erskine, who served the first portion of a three-game suspension on Sunday. Erskine received the punishment for elbowing Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds in the face during Friday's game.

Toronto will try to halt a two-game slide when it visits the Capitals on Tuesday for the start of a three-game road trip. The Maple Leafs are coming off a 1-2-0 homestand that began with a victory over the Capitals before back- to-back losses to Boston and Carolina.

After losing a 1-0 decision against Boston on Saturday, the Leafs were handed a 4-1 setback by Carolina on Monday. Jordan Staal and Patrick Dwyer each recorded a goal and an assist and Cam Ward turned aside 41 Toronto shots at Air Canada Centre.

Matt Frattin supplied the only offense for the Maple Leafs, while James Reimer made 35 saves in defeat. It was the fourth loss in six games for Toronto.

"We got ourselves behind the eight-ball, focusing on things other than how we were playing, and as a result, we couldn't be as effective as we should have been," Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle admitted.

Reimer has started the last five games in net for Toronto, but Carlyle could opt to use backup Ben Scrivens on the second night of back-to-back games. Scrivens hasn't seen game action since Jan. 24.

Toronto is 3-1-0 on the road thus far and also will visit Winnipeg and Montreal during this swing.