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Caps vs. Maple Leafs Recap: Carlson Quarterbacks Caps to a 4-3 Win

The Washington Capitals got their first home victory of the season, dropping the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 behind a stellar performance from their star defenseman.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Washington Capitals Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Knock-knock. Who’s there? The Toronto Maple Leafs, and they’re young, fast, and sexy.

Would a struggling Washington team have an answer for the wunderkinds from up North?

Here’s Wednesday night’s plus/minus:

Plus: Washington finally has its first home win of the season! A curly W in Capital One!

Minus: Jonas Siegenthaler and Richard Panik collided in the second frame, and both would be ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

1. After losing to a high-flying Colorado Avalanche team and giving up 4 goals early, how would Washington handle a.....high-flying Toronto Maple Leafs team? WE SHALL SEE.

2. After Braden Holtby got the early hook on Monday, Todd Reirden gave Ilya Samsonov the start on Wednesday against Toronto. Could the Russian rookie step up?

3. The start was not auspicious for Washington. With the Caps on a power play, Toronto’s Kasperi Kapanen tapped in a 2-on-1 at the opposite end for the shorthanded goal, giving the Leafs the early lead and quieting the Capital One Arena crowd.

4. And five minutes later, Ilya Mikheyev split the Washington defense and left Jonas Siegenthaler in the dust, beating Ilya Samsonov on a half-whiffed shot to put Toronto up 2-0 quickly. Ilya-on-Ilya crime leaves only victims and tragedy.

5. But the Capitals got one back before the first horn, with a wicked transition that saw John Carlson find Jakub Vrana for the cross-ice one-timer, and it was 2-1 Toronto after one.

6. Washington knows how to dominate a second stanza this season like a slow-starting poet laureate. Evgeny Kuznetsov got the fireworks going in the middle frame, scoring a positively Kuzy-tastic classic, hitting the smooth glide and the forehand-backhand stuff move to tie this one at 2-2.

7. Then, literally just 11 ticks of the ol’ stopwatch later, T.J. Oshie found Nicklas Backstrom in the slot, and Slick Nick flicked the quick stick to one-time home a bullet to give the Caps a 3-2 lead.

8. And just a scant minute later, with Washington on a 5-on-3 power play, Real American Hero John Carlson struck with an intercontinental ballistic cruise missile from the point, making it 4-2 Caps after two periods.

9. But the biggest blow of the game would come late in the second frame. Both crashing to play a loose puck in Washington’s defensive zone, blueliner Jonas Siegenthaler and utterly silent winger Richard Panik collided into each other. Siegenthaler visibly grabbed at his collarbone, both went to the locker room, and both were ruled out for the remainder of the game. An already-depleted Capitals defensive corps will await further news on J-Siegs.

10. The Capitals held the fort for most of the final frame. But once Toronto pulled Hutchinson out of net for the extra skater, a lazy Alex Ovechkin turnover trying to spring the break was intercepted, and John Tavares ripped one home to cut the lead to one, 4-3.

But Washington would manage to hang on, and got their first home W of the season.

John Carlson now has 14 points on the season, and leads the entire NHL in scoring. Wowza.

Next up is the New York Rangers on Friday in DC.