Washington Capitals Beat Toronto Maple Leafs In Shootout 3-2


Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals came from behind in spectacular fashion Saturday night to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in Verizon Center.

Each team would be frothing with motivation for a win. The Maple Leafs eager to generate anything remotely resembling a spark in their struggling offense. The Washington Capitals were looking to return to riding the wave of multiple-game win streaks. The efforts from both teams would yield a phenomenal hockey contest.

2. 116. 3. 19. Final

Daniel Winnik notched the first tally of the contest for Toronto early in the 1st period, working a turnover past Dmitry Orlov. He would suffer a gruesome injury only minutes later – his knee twisting awkwardly underneath in the corner. The Washington Capitals were blanked on a Toronto too-many-men penalty but kept sustained pressure often enough during even strength hockey to feel confident the bounces would find their sticks in the second. Toronto would take the first period 1-0. 

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Alex Ovechkin would knot the score back up early in the second period on a power play, pulling the score even at 1-1. The goal would be a chip-in during a hornet’s flurry of activity in front of Reimer. It was a brilliant play with Ovechkin activating in at the perfect moment. It would tally Ovechkin’s goal scoring total equal with the Russian NHL All-Time record with former Washington Capitals forward Sergei Federov. It would also be Alex’s eighth goal of the season and 483rd of his career. Whoa.

Jay Beagle dominated in faceoffs and Nate Schmidt showed off some nifty puck handling skills through neutral, but the second period would wind down to a close with the teams tied at one goal a piece. Shots stayed about equal apiece through forty. 

Tom Wilson would get the third period going by continuing a prolonged chirping session into a shoving contest tilting on Wilson ripping Dion Phaneuf‘s head off. Both would earn a penalty and bring on 4 on 4 hockey. The Washington Capitals would start buzzing and tilting the ice. It wouldn’t last. Wilson would get suckered into more extracurriculars – this time with Nazem Kadri and Tom would be sent to the box again, but this time alone. Toronto would go to the man advantage.

And James van Riemsdyk would make the Washington Capitals pay. Redirecting an extreme backhand from a sharp angle past Holtby to push the score to 2-1 for Toronto. Leo Komarov would hook Alex Ovechkin to give the Washington Capitals another opportunity on the power play and before it would even go a minute deep – Matt Hunwick would trip Johansson to make it a two-man advantage for the Washington Capitals. It wasn’t to be. Toronto’s defense was stifling and defused everything it was challenged by. 

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What happened next was stomach wrenching. Alex Ovechkin would elevate a dazzling backhand to knot the score at 2-2 with only a few minutes left in the contest, but Toronto would call for a Coaches’ Challenge after the goal – inciting that Justin Williams interfered with Reimer during grazing contact in the crease. The goal was reversed, Ovechkin “un-won” the All-Time Russian scoring record and the Maple Leafs would regain the lead. A loud chorus of Boo’s serenaded the officials for the remaining minutes of the contest, but that would quickly change.

Nicklas Backstrom would remedy the injustice with less than one second left in the game! The backdoor tap-in put Verizon Center to its feet, even the score at 2-2 and bring 3-on-3 overtime. Holtby had to make several heart-pounding saves as the Maple Leafs dominated play for the first two minutes. Orlov couldn’t put enough on a dangerous looking chance a minute later, but overtime would expire and send the game to the shootout instead.

  • T.J. Oshie was denied by Reimer despite some fancy wiggling.
  • P.A. Parenteau was stopped by Holtby’s cat-like glove save.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov couldn’t convert, hitting the post, but not in.
  • Tyler Bozak was shutdown by Holtby five hole.
  • Nicklas Backstrom was stopped. Still no goals for Washington.
  • Joffrey Lupul fired wide. No goals for Toronto.
  • Alex Ovechkin pushed one top shelf for the game-winning goal!
  • Nazem Kadri was smothered by Holtby’s toe which refused to allow a goal.

Washington Capitals win in the shootout! 3-2 Caps!

Let’s all just take a moment to acknowledge what an absolute stud we have in Alex Ovechkin on the Washington Capitals. He’s now one for the Russian history books – and I’m convinced we’ve yet to see his best yet. What an incredible journey it’s been so far watching the Great Eight’s career in Washington. He’s just matched Federov’s career numbers in such a short while. There’s a lot more left in the tank for Ovi and it makes you wonder how high his numbers could really go by the end of it all. What an incredible talent.

Because the tally came in the shootout for Ovechkin, it won’t be the goal that breaks the Federov record, but lifts his team to victory once again in a late game fantastic come-from-behind effort. Instead the team will travel to Detroit for their next match against the Red Wings, where Sergei Federov will be in attendance for what hopefully is Ovechkin’s fateful night with the history books.

Next: Caps Still The Team to Beat

Check back with Stars and Sticks for continuing coverage and analysis of the game – and a look to the road ahead.