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Caps vs. Leafs Recap: Syrupy Sweet Leafs Lick Caps 4-2

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The Toronto Maple Leafs dropped the hammer on the Capitals Saturday night, licking the Caps 4-2.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals took their syrupy licks from the Maple Leafs tonight, getting good and properly whooped on Hockey Night in Canada in a 4-2 loss that was never close for a second. Hail Hydra.

Here's Saturday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: New research suggests that dogs have a sense of humor!
  • Minus: The Capitals power play, once lauded and vaulted like Tony Hawk, is now lowly and impotent like Danny DeVito.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

  • Matt Martin scored first for the Leafs, two and a half minutes into the game. A long stretch pass from Mitchell Marner beat John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov across two lines, and the first shot Braden Holtby saw on the night ended up behind him in the back of the net.
  • Four minutes into the second period, James Van Riemsdyk a.k.a. the Notorious JVR lifted home an unattended puck on the doorstop, roofing it like your aunt's dance moves at the wedding reception. Hooray, Toronto was up 2-0 and Tim Horton's is like FINE at best.
  • John Carlson, Captain America himself and the man who bleeds Quaker State motor oil and Jim Beam, had himself a bad night. He seemed especially rough on defense around the net, in the same way that sand paper seems especially rough when mistaken for toilet paper. Look at that JVR goal GIF above, and notice Johnny on one knee like an ill-timed prince-charming-cum-baby-fawn. At the other end, on the power play, Carlson single-handedly squandered a 20-second 5-on-3 opportunity by missing the net wide by a mile twice in a row. The Future Senator from the State of Columbia needs to get his game figured out, whatever that takes.
  • His partner Dmitry Orlov didn’t help, either. If I had a nickel for every other-way turnover Dmitry Orlov has given up in the last three years, I’d be submerged in a Vernean undersea world of nickels.
  • Less than 30 seconds into the third period, Auston Matthews, human justification for the NHL's meglomaniacal expansion into the sunbelt, delivered the nail in the coffin to make it 3-0 Leafs.
  • Of course, just because the coffin is nailed shut doesn’t mean Dracula can’t bang on the lid a little bit. Nicklas Backstrom poked home a loose puck after a doorstep brouhaha, getting one back for the Capitals to make it 3-1.
  • But then Van Helsing came back, stabbed Dracula and farted in the box, as Nazem Kadri just smoked the Orlov-Carlson pairing seconds later, making it 4-1 Maple Leafs.
  • Marcus Johansson gave Washington one more glimmer of hope. The increasingly-aware Swede slammed home a loose puck (every goal tonight was a breakaway or a loose scramble, it seemed) to bring the Caps within two with three minutes left. But that would be it for the scoring, and Washington would fall like...well, maple leaves, 4-2.
  • The Capitals’ power play was bad, stale and stationary like bad, stale stationary. 0-for-4 won’t win many games, and Toronto’s speed came into sharp contrast.
  • The Caps’ penalty kill, on the other hand, did about as well as can be expected against this firebrand young Leafs team, killing four of five tours of duty. Half the Caps’ blueline took penalties (Orpik, Alzner, Orlov) along with Backstrom and Williams, and there’s just no way to win a hockey game when you spend ten minutes playing with fewer players than the other team.

Welp, this was the game that everyone figured the Capitals might lose. Sure enough, this young Toronto team is fast, scary, and very Pittsburgh-esque. The Caps will take their two points from this back-to-back, lick their wounds, and get ready for the Islanders at home at Verizon on Thursday.

Game highlights: