Caps visit Maple Leafs in test between struggling teams

A pair of struggling teams will try to get back on the right track tonight in Toronto, as the Maple Leafs host the Washington Capitals at Air Canada Centre.

The Capitals had their best ever start to a season with seven straight wins to begin the year, but Washington is just 3-6-1 in 10 games since then. Washington enters tonight on a three-game slide and has scored just four goals over that losing streak.

Like Washington, the Maple Leafs are coming off three straight losses and both Toronto and the Caps have dropped five of their last six contests.

The Capitals suffered their last two losses at the start of a three-game road trip and they've been outscored by a 7-2 margin in the first two stops on the trek. Washington was dealt a 3-1 loss Tuesday in Nashville and then dropped a 4-1 decision Thursday in Winnipeg.

Evander Kane scored two goals and Ondrej Pavelec made 31 saves to lift the Jets to the win over Washington. Alexander Semin gave Washington an early 1-0 lead, but the Capitals allowed four unanswered goals.

Michal Neuvirth yielded four goals on 31 shots for the Capitals, who fell to 4-5-0 as the road team this year.

"I thought the first five minutes was okay, but then we started giving them (chances). Every chance they got, we gave them," said Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau.

Following tonight's test, the Caps will play three straight and six of their next seven on home ice.

Washington defenseman Mike Green will miss his fourth straight game tonight with a groin injury. Green, who has three goals and three assists in eight tests this year, had sat out six straight with a foot issue before suffering the groin injury in his first game back on Nov. 11.

Meanwhile, Toronto is still without No. 1 goaltender James Reimer, who suffered a concussion and whiplash against Montreal on Oct. 22 and has been out ever since.

With Reimer out, the Leafs have turned to the duo of Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens in net. Scrivens has posted a 1-2-1 record while starting the last four games, but Gustavsson could see his first action since Nov. 8 tonight.

Scrivens and the Leafs were dealt a 4-1 setback Thursday in Nashville as Martin Erat scored twice and Pekka Rinne made 38 saves for the Predators.

John-Michael Liles tallied the lone goal for Toronto, while Scrivens allowed three goals on 21 shots in defeat.

"I felt good out there like I was giving the team a chance to win," said Scrivens. "We had a couple of bad bounces and those ones happen. You never want to get scored on and I just have to put this one behind me."

Toronto forward Clarke MacArthur is questionable for tonight after missing the last test with an upper body ailment. Fellow winger Mikhail Grabovski will miss his second straight game with a lower body injury.

The Leafs, who will head out on a four-game road trip following tonight's test, are 5-3-2 as the host this season.

Washington has won four of its last five games against the Maple Leafs. The Caps were also victorious in their last two trips to Toronto.