Capitals Rake the Leafs 6-2: Game Recap


Jan 7, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Washington Capitals forward

Marcus Johansson

(90) scores his second goal of the game as Toronto Maple Leafs forward

Nazem Kadri

(43) tries to defend during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals headed into Toronto hotter than what you wish the weather could be right now. The Maple Leafs had just fired their head coach yesterday and were now under control of interim head coach Peter Horachek. The Capitals needed to come out of this game with 2 standings points, as the New York Rangers were only 1 point behind.

The Capitals started the game off strong and were rewarded for it. After spending the majority of the first 5 minutes in the Leafs end of the ice, Marcus Johansson put the biscuit in the basket so quick that nobody really knew it was in. The goal was set up by a great play from Evgeny Kuznetsov, going behind the net, and feeding Mojo for the goal. The goal was Johansson’s 11th on the season.

With 9 minutes left in the first, Kuznetsov made another great feed to Troy Brouwer, who put the biscuit in the face of Roman Polak. Ouch. That’s a biscuit Polak would prefer to stay away from. Troy Brouwer would then proceed to turn the puck over right to Daniel Winnik, who was robbed by the bearded beauty himself, Braden Holtby. If there was anything you could use to describe the play of Holtby since the start of December, it was that.

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The second period started off just the way you would expect, not as good as the first period start. The Capitals got scored on, Daniel Winnik scored on what looked like a definite deflection into the net. It appeared Holtby didn’t stand much of a chance against the shot from the point. Have no worries though, Eric Fehr scored his twelfth goal of the season shorthanded, the first shorthanded goal of the season for the Capitals. Shortly afterwards, Brooks Laich fired a puck off the face-off, and it took a strange bounce past a sliding Jonathan Bernier. The Leafs would score later on in the period after a Leo Komarov shot went off the pads off Holtby and right to the waiting stick of Trevor Smith. I’m not 100% sure on who Smith is, but congratulations on the goal buddy. Jack Hillen was alone with two Leafs in the crease when the goal was scored, but I wouldn’t necessarily place the blame on him. While the Leafs goal was being announced, Marcus Johansson scored his second goal on the night with a nifty wrist shot. Welcome back, start of the season Johansson!!!

The second period was filled with a different Leafs team than the first, and they were rewarded for their increase in play. But unlike in recent years, the Capitals did not go flat after being scored on. The Capitals answered the Leafs goals with goals of their own and went into the third period with a dreaded 2 goal lead. Bernier remained the goalie for the Leafs at the start of the third.

About 5 minutes into the third, Mike Santorelli learned he needed glasses. Santorelli fired a puck that took a weird bounce off Holtby’s shoulder. The horn went off, the referee pointed, but the puck never crossed the line, it didn’t even come close. The play was reviewed and the call was no goal, which was pretty obvious.  At this point in the game, the Leafs fans hit the exits and left Air Canada Centre behind.

The Capitals power play could not dent the twine tonight even with good chances on the man advantage. Eric Fehr put the uno-seis-in-your-face shortly after the power play ended. The shot was incredible, a wicked slap shot from the circle that beat Bernier blocker side, giving the Capitals a 5-2 lead. Both teams power plays went 0 for 2 and the Capitals penalty kill was solid.

Braden Holtby would continue to do Braden Holtby things and keep the Leafs out of the game. Someone pay that man a lot of money, seriously. Braden Holtby earned his 19th win of the season after a 30 save performance. Jonathan Bernier allowed 5 goals on 26 shots (this is not including Alex Ovechkin‘s ENG). Speaking of which, Alex Ovechkin would add an empty net goal to reach the 20 goal mark on the season. Eric Fehr and Marcus Johansson had 2 goals a piece, but neither could bury the hat trick. The Capitals kept their foot on the gas throughout the entire game and earned themselves 2 points in the standings. Good win for the boys.

The Capitals will head to Philadelphia for a Metropolitan division showdown against the Flyers tomorrow night. Game on.

Next: Caps Vs. Leafs: Three Stars