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Capitals vs. Maple Leafs Recap: Caps Clean Up on HNIC with 4 - 2 Win

Washington marched into Toronto for a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast and beat their northern hosts thoroughly 4 to 2.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

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The Capitals visited Toronto less than 24 hours after finishing off the Tampa Bay Lightning in Washington, DC and turned to their mainstay Braden Holtby to man the net once again. Behind his strong 31 save performance Washington escaped with two points tonight and four points in consecutive evenings.

First, here's Saturday night's Plus/Minus:

  • PlusTom Wilson scored his first goal of the season thanks to a horrible giveaway by Morgan Rielly and Jonathan Bernier. It wasn't the prettiest play, but Wilson has to be happy to finally get his first.
  • Minus: The Maple Leafs outplayed the Capitals through the game's first twenty minutes. If it were not for Holtby's strong play Washington would've been playing from behind after the first period, rather than involved in a tie game.
Ten more notes on the game:
  • Jason Chimera with a huge head of steam gave Washington the first goal of the game on their second shot of the night. Chimera broke away from Dion Phaneuf to create a two on one that he called his own number on and scored just before the game's four minute mark.
  • Less than three minutes later the Leafs would time the game at one thanks to Peter Holland's 4th goal of the year. Holland put the puck past both Holtby thanks to a heavy screen created by Dmitry Orlov and his check in the slot.
  • The Capitals were outshot 16 to 4 through the game's first twenty minutes and they needed Holtby to be sharp. Holland aside, Joffrey Lupul was Hotlby's biggest opponent early - he led the Leafs with 3 shots in the first period.
  • Early in the second period, however, Wilson put Washington ahead once again by slamming home a loose puck in front of Bernier. The goal was Wilson's first of the year and he has to be alright with it (finally) coming in Toronto on a Saturday HNIC broadcast.
  • The lead would only last 140 seconds though, as Leo Komarov deflected a Phaneuf slapshot through Holtby's wickets. With Carlson in the box for a slashing minor against Komarov the Russian made Washington pay with a deft tip along the ice that ricocheted into the back of the net.
  • The Capitals would score a power play goal of their own in the second period too, though, thanks to a wild deflection off of Marcus Johansson's knee. Good zone time off of an offensive zone faceoff win allowed the puck to get cycled to Ovechkin twice, who fired the puck into Johansson's body for the goal on his second chance.
  • Justin Williams would also convert with the man advantage courtesy of a soft, perfect Chimera backhanded pass to his wheelhouse. With Phaneuf in the box for Interference Washington kept the offensive pressure on and converted their fourth goal on twelve shots.
  • Both James van Riemsdyk and Holland had chances to get the Maple Leafs back within one in the final frame but both of their shots harmlessly rang off the iron behind Holtby. With Alex Ovechkin in the box for cross checking both forwards had good looks but (fortunately) found nothing but pipe in a span of thirty seconds.
  • Holtby finished the night with 32 saves for a total of 64 saves on 67 shots in back to back winning performances. I think it'd be best to give Philipp Grubauer some more experience but it's hard to argue with Holtby's proven ability to shoulder large workloads. Tonight win was Holtby's seventh straight, tying his career best.
  • The Capitals' power play team went two for three tonight - their second straight game of scoring on more than half of their man advantage chances. Even better, only one of Washington's past five power play goals has come off the stick of Ovechkin.

Game highlights: