Capitals

Caps fall to Toronto for 6th straight loss at home

Capitals

The Capitals battled back from a 3-1 deficit, but fell 5-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday for their sixth straight loss at home. 

Here are some observations from the game.

Another poor start

It wasn't 11 seconds, but the Capitals still let in an early goal. Michael Bunting put Toronto on the board just 2:35 into the game as Mitch Marner stole the puck from Martin Fehervary in the corner and fed Bunting in front of the net.

This is the third straight game in which Washington has given up the first goal.

The Caps tried to answer quickly and saw a flurry of opportunities end as the puck landed on top of the net. Another opportunity saw the puck trickle onto the goal line before beating swept away by Auston Matthews and Petr Mrazek just before it could trickle across.

Vanecek returns

Vitek Vanecek was recalled from a conditioning stint with the Hershey Bears on Monday, but he did not get the start. After starting Sunday in Hershey, it was a tough assignment to throw Vanecek into his first game against a high-powered team like Toronto in what would be back-to-back nights for him.

Samsonov, however, lasted just one period. After he gave up three goals in 10 shots through the first 20 minutes, Vanecek came on to start the second. In his first NHL appearance since Feb. 1, Vanecek stopped the first 16 shots he faced, allowing Washington to get back into the game.

Vanecek finished with 16 saves on 17 shots in the loss.

 

Two tallies for Tom

Down 3-1, instead of Alex Ovechkin coming to the rescue, it was Tom Wilson on Monday as his two goals tied the game at 3

Ovechkin was stoned by goalie Petr Mrazek from the office on the power play so when the puck was return to him, instead of firing another shot, he instead fed a pass looking for a tip from Wilson which he provided. Less than two minutes into the third period, Toronto could not keep the puck in the offensive zone on the power play. Wilson turned on the jets and found himself with the puck on a 2-on-1 opportunity with Lars Eller. Wilson called his own number and beat Mrazek clean low on the glove side.

Wilson now has 17 goals on the season.

Fehervary pickpocketed again

Fehervary was pickpocketed on the first goal and he had it stolen away from him again on the game-winner.

Behind his own net, Fehervary had the puck stolen away by John Tavares, setting up a pass to Justin Holl then to Rasmus Sandin who would score the game-winner.

Fehervary has had a great season for Washington, but he seems to have hit the rookie wall of late. Having the puck stolen away from him twice in which both plays led to goals is a pretty tough night.

Progress for the power play

Wilson's power-play goal gave Washington a power-play goal in nine of their last 11 games and eight of the last nine games in which Ovechkin has played

The power play was converting at 25% over the past 10 games coming into this game, good for seventh in the league.

The power play has been a major talking point of late, but it certainly seems as if that unit is starting to play its way out of a major slump.

Problems at home

Monday's game was the sixth straight loss at home for the Caps. Washington's last home win came on Jan. 22 against the Ottawa Senators. That means they went the entire month of February without a single home win.

In 2022, the Caps are now 2-8-1 at home.