In a game played under the stars, it was the Capitals’ stars who came to play in Saturday’s Stadium Series as the Capitals dominated the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 5-2 win.
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored less than four minutes in to start off what would be a three-goal period for Washington. Alex Ovechkin also scored career goal No. 598, his 40th of the season, as the Caps jumped out to a 3-1 lead.
Toronto tried to make a game of it as Nazem Kadri pulled the Leafs to within one in the second, but goals from John Carlson and Jakub Vrana iced the game away after just 40 minutes.
A brief power outage delayed the third period somewhat, but could not delay the inevitable Capitals win.
Here are the three stars of the game.
1. Evgeny Kuznetsov: The tone was set early as Kuznetsov opened the scoring less than four minutes into the game as he planted himself in front of the net and collected a Frederik Andersen rebound for the power play tally. His first assist was even prettier as he drove to the net, then left a drop pass that somehow found Nicklas Backstrom in between all four of the Leafs’ penalty killers. In the second period, Kuznetsov collected a turnover forced by Dmitry Orlov in the neutral zone and passed it up to spring Jakub Vrana on the breakaway for a badly needed goal.
2. Nicklas Backstrom: Backstrom had a hand in all three of Washington’s first period goals with a goal and two assists. He was the beneficiary of Kuznetsov’s drop pass which he netted to give Washington a 3-1 lead. Prior to that, Backstrom fired the initial shot that Kuznetsov was able to bang in for the first goal of the game. He and Tom Wilson also got in on a puck battle behind the net, eventually winning it so Wilson could pass to Ovechkin in the slot for the goal.
3. John Carlson: Carlson assisted on both of Washington’s power play tallies in the first period, then added a goal of his own in the second. He joined the rush with Jay Beagle and Chandler Stephenson and fired a slap shot on Frederik Andersen. The Leafs netminder turned the shot aside right to Stephenson. Andersen and the Toronto defense adjusted too far over to account for Stephenson, leaving Carlson open. Stephenson swung the puck back to center for the easy tap-in.