Maple Leafs Vs. Capitals: Washington Hosts Toronto With A Chance To Take Southeast Division Lead

March 11, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals center Brooks Laich (21) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Goals from Brooks Laich and Mathieu Perreault propelled the Caps out on a crucial five-game road trip.

The Washington Capitals enter Sunday evening's matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs looking for their third win in a row and with a chance to take over sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division. Saturday's huge road win over Boston put the Caps just one point behind the first place Panthers, who host the Hurricanes this evening.

Washington was embarrassed by Toronto in a 7-1 loss in their first meeting this season, but came back with two straight 4-2 victories over the Leafs. A relatively successful season for Toronto went off the rails in February, as the team lost ten of 14 games and fired coach Ron Wilson as playoff hopes slipped away. Randy Carlyle is now behind the bench for Toronto, but the struggles continue as they come to Verizon Center on a three-game losing streak and having dropped 13 of their past 15 games.

This is a brief one-game stop in Chinatown for the Caps before they head out on a crucial five-game road trip against some of the best teams in the league. The Leafs are near the bottom of the league when it comes to giving up goals, so Washington will look to build on the momentum from Boston in the offensive zone. Yesterday's win not only put them in position to take over first place in the division, but it also moved them into the eighth and final playoff spot and a win against Toronto will be a big boost before hitting the road.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Capitals, visit Japers' Rink, SB Nation's Caps blog. For more on the Maple Leafs, check out Pension Plan Puppets. And for all your hockey news as the playoffs approach, visit SB Nation's hockey hub.

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