Washington, DC (Sports Network) – Alex Ovechkin scored the winner in the shootout as the Washington Capitals took a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Verizon Center.
In the second round, Ovechkin used a wrister to beat Jonas Gustavsson through the five-hole and, after Michal Neuvrith made a blocker save on Nikolai Kulemin’s wrister, Alexander Semin sealed the win as he blasted a slap shot past Gustavsson.
Semin had a goal and an assist while Tomas Fleischmann, Jason Chimera and Mike Green each lit the lamp for the Capitals, who have won four of their last five. Neuvrith finished the game with 24 saves.
“We had plenty of chances and so did they,” said Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. “We went to the net and that’s how you score goals. They fought back and we fought back, it was one of those games.”
Tomas Kaberle had a goal and an assist and Kulemin, Kris Versteeg and Tyler Bozak each scored for the Maple Leafs, who have dropped four straight and seven of eight. Gustavsson stopped 26 shots in the loss.
Toronto got the only goal of the first period at the 14:29 mark. Kulemin picked up the loose puck at the top of the left circle, stick handled his way over to the low right circle and shot it into the far side of the net.
The Capitals, though, responded with a three-goal second period to surge ahead.
Skating on the man advantage, Semin sent a pass from the left circle to the right where Green snapped a high wrister into the net at the 6:05 mark.
Exactly 4 1/2 minutes later, the Caps took the lead. Matt Bradley had the puck and chipped it down to the low right corner where Boyd Gordon caught up to it. Gordon immediately threw the disc out front and Chimera banged it in as he was crashing the net.
Less than a minute, a slap shot by John Carlson at the right point was tipped in by Fleischmann for a 3-1 lead.
Toronto scored three straight goals in a three-minute span in the third to take back the advantage.
The first goal came at the 4:14 mark of the frame when a wrist shot from Kaberle at the left circle got past Neuvrith.
Less than a minute later, Versteeg was sprung on a breakaway by Mike Komisarek and he slid the disc between the pads of Neuvrith.
On the power play, Toronto took a 4-3 lead as Kaberle’s wrist shot from the right circle was stopped by Neuvrith, but Bozak was there to jam in the rebound at the 7:17 mark.
Washington, though, tied the game with a power-play marker at 14:22 when Semin grabbed the puck at the left side of the net and lifted it over Gustavsson from the side.
Toronto hosts Buffalo on Saturday…The Capitals host the Bruins on Friday…These teams split the four games last season…The Capitals went 2- for-4 on the power play and are 5-for-8 on the man advantage over their past two games…Toronto went 1-for-4 on the man advantage.