The Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs battled to a 2-2 tie through 40 minutes, but a key power play in the third period gave the Maple Leafs a lead they would not relinquish as the Caps fell 4-2.
A star-studded matchup did not provide as much offense as you may have expected, but it did produce a tight, well-played game between two of the league’s best teams.
Here are three reasons why the Caps lost.
Washington took a 1-0 and a 2-1 lead, but each time Toronto was able to tie the game off a deflection.
In the second period, Kasperi Kapanen got his stick on a blue line shot from Ron Hainsey that deflected past Braden Holtby. The Caps petitioned for a high-stick infraction, but the replay showed Kapanen’s stick was well below the bar.
Later in the second, Jake Gardiner threw an innocent looking puck in front of the net, but Par Lindholm was on the back door and deflected the centering pass on net and Holtby was not able to glove it.
Holtby was fantastic in this game and the Leafs just could not get a clean shot into the back of the net. The deflection goals, however, count just as much.
A third period high-stick
Heading into Saturday’s game, Toronto was producing at 50-percent on the power play. The Maple Leafs were absolutely lethal with the extra man and it cost the Caps in the third period.
In a 2-2 game, Michal Kempny was booked for a high-stick on John Tavares. It was Toronto’s third power play of the game and you knew the Caps were playing with fire.
Sure enough, a shot from Andreas Johnsson hit off the skate of John Carlson and bounced to the far-side to Josh Leivo who had a lot of room to shoot. He made it count.
The Caps’ penalty kill did well to kill off the first two penalties, but the third proved to be the backbreaker as it provided Toronto with the game-winning goal.
Swarming to Ovechkin
The Maple Leafs were all over Alex Ovechkin all game long and really limited his opportunities.
Wait, didn't Ovechkin have two points?
Yes, Ovechkin tallied two assists in the game and had two shots on goal. The big number, however, was seven. That’s how many Ovechkin shots the Leafs blocked. Toronto blocked 12 shots from players not named Ovechkin in this game, so clearly they were giving the Great 8 a lot of attention.
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