The Toronto Maple Leafs take the NHL's top offense on the road Tuesday night when they visit the Washington Capitals in a rematch of last season's first-round Eastern Conference playoff series. The Maple Leafs are averaging 5.2 goals and own the best power-play percentage in the league (30.8) as they prepare to face a Washington team that surrendered eight tallies in its last contest.

Toronto has won four of five to start the season, but is near the bottom of the league in goals against (3.8) and still trying to find its best form outside its own offensive zone. "We're not playing near as good as we were at the end of last year, not even close," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock, whose team lost in six games to the Capitals last spring, told reporters. "But we're probably playing better than we were at this time last year. We have more talent, but we can still play way better than we are playing and we plan on getting better." Washington had points in four of its first five games with captain Alex Ovechkin posting nine goals before Philadelphia celebrated its home opener by pounding the rival Capitals 8-2 on Saturday. "We need to realize that we can't just give away the puck all the time," Washington center Nicklas Backstrom told reporters. "If we don't realize that quick it's going to be a long season."

TV: 7 p.m. ET, TSN 4 (Toronto), NBCSN Washington

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (4-1-0): Auston Matthews is showing no signs of a sophomore slump with five goals, three assists and a plus-7 rating in the early going after his overtime tally in a 4-3 victory at Montreal on Saturday. Matthews owns one of the eight power-play goals Toronto (8-for-26) has recorded with James van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri registering two each to lead the way. Patrick Marleau has fit in nicely for the Maple Leafs with three goals and a plus-4 rating while defenseman Nikita Zaitsev is off to a strong start with five points and a plus-8.

ABOUT THE CAPITALS (3-2-1): Washington is dealing with the loss of top-pair defenseman Matt Niskanen (hand), who was put on long term injured reserve and will be out until at least Nov. 7. John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov and Brooks Orpik are the only blueliners available who played significant minutes with the team last season while the Capitals will need to rely on youngsters Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos, who have combined to play four NHL games. Evgeny Kuznetsov leads the NHL in assists (11) and is tied with Backstrom for the team lead with 11 points.


1. The Capitals have given up 22 goals, but No. 1 G Braden Holtby surrendered only 10 in his four starts (.923 save percentage).

2. Toronto F Mitch Marner boasts four points in five games, but his minus-6 rating pushed him down to the fourth line at practice Monday.

3. Capitals C Lars Eller, who has two assists in six games, reportedly missed Monday's practice because of illness and is questionable.

PREDICTION: Maple Leafs 5, Capitals 3