There is no joy in Hogtown as Toronto loses their first game of a five game road trip, dropping below 500. The Caps edged out the Maple Leafs 2-0 Sunday night at the Verizon Center in Washington in what was a must-win situation for Toronto. The loss sets the Boys in Blue back eight points from the final spot in the Eastern Conference and almost completely dashes their dreams of post-season play.
Capitals’ net-minder, Michal Neuvirth, made 23 saves to record his third shutout this season while Leafs’ Gustavsson stopped 21 shots in the losing effort. The win solidifies eighth place for Washington with 76 points; the Capitals have now gone 6-2-1 in their last nine games.
Although the match-up highlighted Toronto’s defensive strides, their offence was a complete no show.
“We are starving for offence right now; we need a bounce to go our way,” said Leafs’ coach, Randy Carlyle in a post-game interview.
The Leafs were scoreless in both weekend games, losing to Philadelphia in a shoot-out decision at home on Saturday. An absent Joffrey Lupul, out with a separated shoulder, represents an obvious hole in the Leafs’ top offence-generating line.
With only 13 games remaining Toronto’s post-season hopes look grim. The Leafs will have to win at least ten tough regulation games to even be considered contenders.
Florida hosts Toronto this Tuesday.