Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night at Verizon Center:
How it happened: The Capitals followed their coach’s orders by scoring twice in the first period to grab a 2-0 lead on goals by Taylor Chorney and Alex Ovechkin, but took a nap for the next 30 minutes, allowing the hapless Maple Leafs to tie it on goals by Nikita Soshnikov and Colin Greening. That had the sellout crowd fidgeting in their seats until Matt Niskanen snapped a power-play wrist shot past goaltender James Riemer with 9:31 gone in the third. Niskanen’s goal looked very similar to the one he thought he scored the night before against the Penguins. That power-play game-winner went to T.J. Oshie, who tipped Niskanen’s point shot past Penguins goalie Matt Murray for the winner.
What it means: The Caps have won two in a row and now have an incredible 98 points with 19 games to play.
Worth noting: Maple Leafs rookie Nikita Soshnikov played on the edge all night, interfering with Caps goalie Philipp Grubauer and tussling with Matt Niskanen in the second period, then taking a boarding penalty on Karl Alzner that led to Niskanen’s power-play goal.
Osh-trick: T.J. Oshie played a role in all three Capitals goals. After Kuznetsov forced Toronto defenseman Martin Marincin into a giveaway, he dropped the puck to Chorney for the game’s first goal late in the first period. He won a puck battle to help set up Ovechkin’s goal 27 seconds later. And he got the puck to Backstrom and provided a screen for Matt Niskanen’s game-winner in the third.
Thanks, Dad: Taylor Chorney gave his newborn son, Hunter, a nice little gift, scoring his first goal since Feb. 15, 2011 in the first period.
Ovechkin’s assault: Alex Ovechkin scored his 41st goal of the season in the first period, giving him 516 in his career. That’s 36th on the NHL’s all-time list, two behind Dale Hawerchuk and six behind Pat Verbeek.
No Schmitty: Nate Schmidt sat out his first game since Oct. 28.
What’s next: In the midst of four games in five days the Capitals will be given the day off on Thursday and return to action Friday night against the New York Rangers (7 p.m., CSN). The Caps then hit the road for games against the Bruins on Saturday the Ducks on Monday, the Kings on Wednesday and the Sharks on Saturday, March 12.