Brown scores as Maple Leafs continue hot start, beat Caps

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner (51) battles for the puck against Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (44) during the second period of a NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Connor Brown scored the game-winning goal in the third period and Frederik Andersen stopped all 30 shots he faced for the shutout as the Toronto Maple Leafs continued their tremendous start by beating the Washington Capitals 2-0 on Tuesday night.

Toronto has won five of its first six games. Washington has now lost two in a row since top defenseman Matt Niskanen went out with a long-term upper-body injury.

After getting a promotion to the third line, Brown picked up his second goal of the season and broke a 0-0 tie with 14:07 left in the third. Brown corralled a rebound of Morgan Rielly's point shot and poked the puck between Braden Holtby's legs.

Holtby made 28 saves but couldn't help as the Capitals' offense couldn't cash in on limited high-quality chances. Nazem Kadri scored an empty-net goal in the final minute.

The Capitals and Maple Leafs were facing off for the first time since their first-round playoff series last spring, which Washington won in six games. Although it could eventually be the first chapter of a new rivalry, the Capitals had just 12 players in the lineup Tuesday and the Maple Leafs 15 who took part in that series.

Much has changed particularly for Washington since the playoffs given the offseason losses of Marcus Johansson, Justin Williams, Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk and the injury to Niskanen that has the top defenseman sidelined until at least Nov. 7. Depleted of depth, especially on the blue line, the Capitals were forced to play John Carlson 27:33 against Toronto.

NOTES: Washington C Tyler Graovac left in the first period with an upper-body injury after taking successive hits from Toronto's Matt Martin. ... Graovac was filling in for C Lars Eller, who missed the game with an illness.


Maple Leafs: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night in the second half of a back-to-back.

Capitals: Travel to play Detroit on Friday in their first visit to new Little Caesars Arena.


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