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Tarik El-Bashir's three stars from Caps vs. Maple Leafs

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Tarik El-Bashir's three stars from Caps vs. Maple Leafs

In a rematch of last year’s ridiculously entertaining first round playoff matchup, the high-flying Maple Leafs skated away with a 2-0 victory over the Caps on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena. The Caps are now 3-3-1 on the season.

Here are Tarik’s three stars of the game.

1-Connor Brown, Maple Leafs

Most people had Brown scoring the decisive goal, right? The winger started the season on the fourth line but was promoted to the third line ahead of this game—and he made the most of the opportunity. At 5:53 of the third period, Brown fought off Evgeny Kuznetsov, pounced on a rebound and pounded the puck between Braden Holtby’s pads. Interestingly, the Leafs came into the game leading the league in goals per at 5.20.

2-Braden Holtby, Capitals

The Caps’ starter did all he could, turning away 28 of 29 shots he faced. Holts was at his best on the penalty kill, where he stopped all three shots the Leafs put on him. His best save of the game likely came in the opening moments of the game—a right pad stop on James van Riemsdyk, who was looking to finish a 2-on-1.

3-John Carlson, Capitals

With Matt Niskanen week-to-week with an upper body injury, the minutes load has fallen on No. 74’s shoulders. And it did again vs. Toronto. Carlson finished with 27:33 of ice time. He also had a couple of good looks early on but he couldn’t finish.

Do you agree? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

More Capitals: Must See Photos: Toronto 2 Caps 0 10/17/17

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Two defenders key concerns on Redskins' injury report

Two defenders key concerns on Redskins' injury report

The Redskins came out of their game against the 49ers with a win but there are a few injuries of concern.

 CB Bashaud Breeland left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury. He played very sparingly the rest of the way. Jay Gruden said that the initial diagnosis was an MCL sprain and that an MRI will be done on Monday. Breeland was seen in the locker room walking with a noticeable limp but without any sort of brace or other support.

RELATED: Must See Photos: NFL Week 6, Redskins 26 San Francisco 24

Breeland’s health will be of great concern this week. Josh Norman missed today’s game with a broken rib and his availability for the upcoming Monday night game in Philadelphia is very much up in the air. Going into a game against the 5-1 Eagles with both starting cornerbacks sideline would be a difficult task.

DT Jonathan Allen also left in the second half with what Gruden said was a foot sprain. He was in a walking boot after the game and he will have an MRI schedule for tomorrow as well.

S Montae Nicholson had a shoulder injury, although he appeared to be moving OK after the game. S Stefan McClure had a knee sprain, and it looked like the Redskins were running out of safeties with Deshazor Everett inactive with a hamstring injury. CB Kendall Fuller said that he was the next man up if they needed another safety but fortunately the managed to keep two of the group of Nicholson, McClure, and D.J. Swearinger on the field the whole game.

More Redskins: Five takeaways from Redskins' close win against San Francisco

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5 takeaways from Redskins' close win against San Francisco

5 takeaways from Redskins' close win against San Francisco

Here are my give takeaways from the Redskins’ 26-24 win over the 49ers.

A win is a win but . . . I’ve covered every one of Jay Gruden’s games in Washington, and I’ve never hear him say that there was any degree of disappointment in a win until today. “You can see that we’re starting to turn the corner a little bit when you’re not quite as ecstatic as you normally would be after a win,” he said. It’s clear that they had at least a couple of different chances to put them away but they almost let a rookie quarterback throwing his first NFL passes beat them. Against the Chiefs they got ahead and couldn’t apply the clinching blow. They didn’t get away with that against a very good team. Today, they survived but it’s unlikely that they can play like they did today and win any of their next three games against the Eagles, Cowboys and Seahawks.

Better a close win than a blowout? Maybe the Redskins are better off by having to scrape by over the winless 49ers than they would have been had they blown them out. The praise would have been flowing in, and this is not necessarily a team that can handle prosperity well. A two-point win and a rout count the same in the standings. They will go into Philadelphia next Monday night at 3-2 and with, as Gruden said, plenty of things to work on. That may be better for them.

RELATED: Must See Photos: NFL Week 6, Redskins 26 San Francisco 24

So much for limiting Chris Thompson’s touches — Thompson started the game, and while I don’t have official snap counts, I’d say he was in for at least 50 of Washington’s 71 offensive plays. He had 16 rushing attempts and he caught four passes. I’m not sure if 20 touches is a career high, but it’s close. But the thing is, the Redskins needed him. Cousins is still having issues connecting with his wide receivers, and until that gets ironed out he will continue to rely on Thompson when he needs a big play.

The defense is taking a step back — The Redskins defense peaked while allowing the Raiders fewer than 100 yards before they picked up some in garbage time. The Chiefs piled up yards and points against them. In Week 6, they allowed a rookie quarterback to drive 75 yards against them after the two-minute warning and had a broken coverage that gave up a 45-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that made it a two-point game. The other TD wasn’t their fault, coming after a turnover that gave the 49ers the ball at the Washington one. They were becoming a force to be reckoned with and a group that was fun to watch. Now you want to close your eyes when they are on the field. To be sure, injuries have a lot to do with it.

A football season doesn’t always go like you think it will — Sunday, Matt Ioannidis had a sack and a half, including a big one that knocked the 49ers out easy of field goal range (they missed the kick) in the third quarter. Ryan Grant had some key receptions. Many fans would not have batted an eye if one or both of these players had been cut during the offseason. In fact, some would have cheered. But here we are in mid-October and the two fifth-round picks are contributing in wins. So is rookie safety Montae Nicholson, who many thought was a huge reach on the fourth round (I am sheepishly raising my  hand). But you just don’t know how a season is going to play out and how much guys can take a leap in between seasons.  

MORE REDSKINS: It may not be a perfect match, but Kirk Cousins and the read option do look good together