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Capitals vs. Maple Leafs Recap: Toronto Topples Caps in Impressive Road Win

A strong third period from the Maple Leafs leads to a 4 to 2 Toronto victory

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals returned home after a difficult loss in New Jersey to square off against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Capital One Arena. Washington got off to a quick start but could not hold off the Maple Leafs’ offense, falling 4 to 2 at home.

Here’s Saturday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Chandler Stephenson was moved up to the first line, replacing Brett Connolly for Tom Wilson’s fifth missed game due to suspension.

Minus: Washington allowed two goals on five shots against in the second frame.

Nine more notes on the game.

  1. 18 seconds into the contest Stephenson validated his position on the first line by stuffing home an Evgeny Kuznetsov rebound behind Frederik Anderson. A long outlet pass from Alex Ovechkin allowed Kuznetsov and Stephenson to connect for an early lead.
  2. Braden Holtby was both excellent and lucky through the first period. He denied Kasperi Kapanen from fifteen feet out with a strong glove save but was also the beneficiary of two pucks off the post late in the frame.
  3. Less than four minutes into the second period Kapenen tied the contest at one by deflecting a Ron Hainsey point shot down and underneath Braden Holtby from atop the left faceoff circle.
  4. Kuznetsov, though, would respond immediately for Washington. With John Tavares in the penalty box Kuznetsov picked up a pass from Nicklas Backstrom to Anderson’s left and ripped a high and hard shot shortside that caromed in off the crossbar.
  5. But before the end of the second Toronto would draw even again. Jake Gardiner sent a hard pass from the left wall across the crease where Par Lindholm redirected it up and over Holtby’s left side to knot the game at two.
  6. Forty seconds into the third period Kapanen found himself in alone on a breakaway. He deked around Holtby but stuffed his forehand chance just wide of the right post.
  7. With Michael Kempny in the penalty box six minutes later the Maple Leafs put themselves ahead for the first time. Josh Leivo stashed a soft Andreas Johnsson shot into the net, just beyond the grasp of Holtby’s glove.
  8. Washington furiously tried to tie the contest late in the third but great looks from T.J. Oshie and Jakub Vrana did not connect, keeping Toronto ahead by one.
  9. And with less than two minutes to play Auston Matthews picked up a loose puck in the crease and slammed home his tenth (!) goal of the season to close out the contest.