Capitals hope to say boo to lowly Leafs


The Washington Capitals will celebrate Halloween with Costume Night when they entertain the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at the Capital Centre at 7:35.

The Capitals, off to the best start in team history (9-3-0), will be playing their first home game since a five-game trip in which they won three games, including an 8-0 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Washington, which has lost only to the Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets, is unbeaten in the Patrick Division and is one point behind Vancouver and the Montreal Canadiens for the overall lead in the NHL. Toronto (3-8-1), despite off-season trades that were supposed to strengthen the team, is again in the cellar of the Norris Division.

Toronto, which will likely start Grant Fuhr in goal, will be without center Mike Krushelnyski (suspended), left wing Wendel Clark (knee) and center Daniel Marois (wrist).

Coach Terry Murray cites stout defensive play as the main

reason for his Capitals' early-season success.

"I like my defense," said Murray after practice yesterday at Piney Orchard rink in Odenton. "I think my unit of eight blue-liners has as much quality and talent as any defensive unit in the NHL. We have Kevin Hatcher, Al Iafrate, Calle Johansson and Sylvan Cote doing the job for us not only defensively but also on offense."

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