Capitals

Saints scratch RT Strief, activate RB Sproles

Saints scratch RT Strief, activate RB Sproles

NEW ORLEANS (AP) New Orleans running back Darren Sproles is active against San Francisco after missing three games with a broken left hand.

But starting right tackle Zach Strief has been scratched for Sunday's game, meaning rookie Bryce Harris will start in his place against the 49ers' No. 2-ranked defense.

Every player on the 49ers' injury report this week is active except fullback/defensive tackle Will Tukuafu (both wrists). Quarterback Alex Smith, coming back from a concussion, is in uniform, though not expected to start. The Niners' other scratches are healthy reserves.

Also inactive for New Orleans is linebacker Scott Shanle, a healthy scratch, and four players ruled out earlier with injuries: right tackle Charles Brown (right knee), cornerback Corey White (left knee), defensive end Junior Galette (left ankle) and cornerback Elbert Mack (concussion).

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Capitals at Maple Leafs: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals at Maple Leafs: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Things aren't going great for the Washington Capitals of late.

After leading for 59:59 of Tuesday night's game against the San Jose Sharks and with one second left in regulation, Evander Kane scored to force overtime and Tomas Hertl eventually scored the game winner. The late collapse extended the Caps' losing streak to six for the first time in five years, and now they must travel to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs for one final game before the All-Star break. 

Wednesday's matchup will also be the final game for the Leafs before the All-Star break. Just like the Caps, they too are in need of a week off. Since the NHL's holiday break, Toronto has won only three of 10, scoring 24 times in that 10-game stretch. 

At home, the Leafs have a 13-11-1 record this season but have lost four straight and six of their last seven. 

Here's everything you need to know before the Caps hit the ice for the last time until Feb. 1. 

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs, 2018-19 NHL Regular Season
Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON, Canada
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Sharks at Capitals game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network
Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS TV SCHEDULE

6:30 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
7:00 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:30 PM: Capitals vs. Leafs on NBCSN
10:90 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:30 PM: Caps Overtime Live
11:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: 
Maple Leafs: D Jake Gardiner (day-to-day with back spasms) 

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Braden Holtby, G, Capitals (17 wins, 11 losses, 3 OT losses, 97 GA): The Caps were a second away from snapping their five-game losing streak until Evander Kane got one past Holtby and Tomas Hertl scored the winner. In their six-game losing streak, the Caps have given up 30 goals and 52 in their last 10. A solid performance from Holtby and a W heading into the All-Star break could help the Caps get out of their funk. 

John Tavares, C, Maple Leafs (30 goals, 23 assist, 53 points): Tavares currently leads the Maple Leafs with 30 goals, with his last one coming Jan. 20 against the Arizona Coyotes. The centre is already making an impact for the Leafs after parting ways with the New York Islanders after nine seasons. 

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 151
All-Time Series Record: Caps lead 77-64-10
Last Meeting: Leafs win 4-2 (10/13/18)
Last 10: Caps lead 6-4 (including playoffs) 

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Otto Porter Jr.'s strong history against Warriors may give Wizards fighting chance

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Otto Porter Jr.'s strong history against Warriors may give Wizards fighting chance

The Wizards have shown no indication recently they are willing to bow down to anyone and accept their fate as a team depleted by injuries with the odds stacked against them. So, even as they get set to face the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, they can't be counted out, even if it seems a near impossible task for them to upset the two-time reigning champs.

In order to pull off the win, they will need many guys to step up, but perhaps none more than Otto Porter Jr., regardless of whether he's currently a bench player or not. For whatever reason, Porter has had some of the best games of his career against Golden State. 

Porter has scored 29 points or more in five career games and two of them came last season against the Warriors. He had nearly identical games of 29 points and 10 rebounds and shot a combined 10-for-18 (55.6%) from three. 

In five games against the Warriors going back to Feb. of 2017, Porter is averaging 19.4 points while shooting 56.8 percent from long range. He has nine steals compared to just two turnovers during that stretch.

The Wizards won just one of those games, as they have one win against the Warriors since 2014 and only two since 2010. But the Warriors have had no answer for Porter while his teammate Bradley Beal has been a much different story.

In their last meeting on Oct. 24, Beal had 23 points in 19 minutes but bruised his sternum and was limited in a 22-point defeat. In their final match-up last year, Beal was held to only eight points in 37 minutes on 3-for-15 from the field with five turnovers. It was one of the worst offensive nights Beal has had in years.

The other game between the teams last season featured Beal getting ejected for a fight with Draymond Green. He left with only four points.

Beal may find better luck this time around, now that he's reached another level as a scorer. He's averaging a career-best 24.7 points on the year and 29.6 points in his last eight games.

But it could very well come down to Porter leading the way. He has been on fire lately, shooting 47.7 percent from three while averaging 16.8 points during the Wizards' recent stretch of seven wins in 10 games. He also leads the team in defensive rating (99.1) since this run began on Dec. 29, while the Wizards' bench has posted the best +/- in the NBA.

In order to beat the heavily-favorited Warriors, the Wizards will need a collective effort and probably a big game from Beal. But if history is any indication, Porter will hold up his end of the bargain.

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