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Maple Leafs Vs. Capitals: Washington Notches Third Win In A Row, Beats Leafs 2-0

The Washington Capitals notched their third win in a row and picked up crucial ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 Sunday afternoon at Verizon Center.

The win moved Washington four points clear of Winnipeg in the race for the East's 8th and final playoff spot and left the Caps just one point behind the Florida Panthers in the race for the Southeast Division. The Panthers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 later Sunday evening.

Brooks Laich got Washington on the board with a shorthanded goal at 10:07 of the first period. Laich intercepted a lazy drop pass by Jake Gardiner, moved to the bottom of the right circle and beat Jonas Gustavsson.

Mathieu Perreault doubled the advantage 42 seconds into the third period, but it was Alexander Semin who did most of the work, taking a long pass from Dennis Wideman and twirling to the front of the net. When the Russian lost the puck on the doorstep, Perreault was on hand to sweep home the rebound.

The Capitals begin a five-game road trip on Tuesday when they travel to Uniondale, N.Y. to face the New York Islanders.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Capitals, visit Japers' Rink, SB Nation's Caps blog. For more on the Maple Leafs, check out Pension Plan Puppets. And for all your hockey news as the playoffs approach, visit SB Nation's hockey hub.