Capitals Vs. Maple Leafs: Washington Holds On For 4-2 Win, Tightens Southeast Division Race

The Capitals jump out to a 4-0 lead and hold on for a 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs.

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Capitals Vs. Maple Leafs: Washington Holds On For 4-2 Win, Tightens Southeast Division Race

The Washington Capitals won back-to-back games for the first time in over a month as they built a 4-0 lead and held on to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 Saturday night.

The win left Washington alone in 9th place in the Eastern Conference with 67 points, one point behind Florida and Winnipeg for the Southeast Division lead. In other results Saturday, Winnipeg lost 3-2 to the St. Louis Blues in a shootout, while Florida rallied to defeat Carolina 3-2 in a shootout.

For the Capitals, Michal Neuvirth stopped 28 Toronto shots to record his second straight win, but was denied a shutout with 4:50 gone in the third period when Colby Armstrong scored his first goal of the season with Toronto on a power-play. The Maple Leafs managed to make the final 4:57 more interesting then most Capital fans would have liked when Tim Connolly scored his 10th goal of the season to provide the final margin.

This was the Capitals last game before the NHL trade deadline, which comes on Monday at 3 p.m. The absence of Mike Knuble and Roman Hamrlik (both healthy scratches along with John Erskine), will only fuel the speculation that one (or both) of them will be heading out of town.

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Capitals Vs. Maple Leafs: A Fantastic Four After 40 Minutes For Washington

The Washington Capitals appear to have rediscovered their offense, at least temporarily, as goals from Jeff Halpern and Keith Aucoin have given Washington a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes in Toronto.

Halpern made the score 3-0 with his 4th goal of the season at the 11:31 mark of the second as he slammed home a rebound of a point shot by Dimitry Orlov.

Keith Aucoin surely put the result beyond doubt and scored his first NHL goal since 2009, tapping the puck into the net from close range to finish off a 3-on-2 between himself, Alex Ovechkin, and Marcus Johansson.

At the other end of the ice, Michal Neuvirth has performed flawlessly, stopping all 19 shots he's faced, including a point-blank denial of Carl Gunnarsson that kept the score at 2-0 at the time.

For more on the Washington Capitals, visit SB Nation's Capitals blog Japers Rink. For more on the Leafs, visit SB Nation's Maple Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets.

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Capitals Vs. Maple Leafs: Caps Strike Early, Hold 2-0 Lead

Two early goals have helped the Washington Capitals take a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs after 20 minutes at the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto.

Washington's first goal came just 32 seconds into the game courtesy of Marcus Johansson, who carried the puck behind the goal from right post to left post and banged the puck into the net off the pads of Leafs goaltender James Reimer for his 12th goal of the season.

Washington doubled their advantage just 3:14 later when Alexander Semin picked the pocket of Toronto defenseman Luke Schenn, turned, and fired the puck past Reimer for his 17th goal of the season.

The Capitals entered the game tied with Toronto for 9th place in the Eastern Conference with 65 points. Washington is currently three points behind division-leading Winnipeg and one point behind the Florida Panthers, who currently hold the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

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Capitals Vs. Maple Leafs: Washington, Toronto Battle North Of The Border With Playoff Hopes On The Line

The Washington Capitals (30-26-5, 65 pts) and Toronto Maple Leafs (29-25-7, 65 pts) clash Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre, with both teams desperately looking for a win to aid them in their quest to make the playoffs.

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