There was no lack of scoring in Tuesday’s matchup between the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs, let alone a lack of suspense.
After each team scored a combination of 10 goals through 60 minutes, it only took the Capitals 22 seconds into overtime to score and spoil Toronto’s six-game winning streak.
With the victory, the Capitals moved within two points of the New York Rangers for third in the Metropolitan Division. With the loser point, Toronto moved up to 42 points and is just a win away from the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The scoring got off to a quick start for Washington thanks to an early power-play opportunity. Dmitry Orlov blasted a shot from the point that bounced off Justin Williams’ skate, giving him his 10th goal of the season and Washington an early lead.
However, Washington’s lead would vanish five minutes later thanks to Toronto’s power-play unit. Nazem Kadri fired a loose puck past Braden Holtby, snapping Washington’s lengthy penalty killing streak and tying the game at one.
About halfway through the first, the Maple Leafs broke the tie, thanks to a Connor Brown wrister that went top shelf over Holtby’s catching glove. Washington would power back, though, and tie the game on an excellent play. On a nice pass from Williams, T.J. Oshie found a perfect shooting lane right in the slot and ripped the puck past Frederik Andersen to even the score.
Despite Washington’s comeback, the Maple Leafs would head to the dressing room with the 3-2 lead, thanks to Frederik Gauthier’s second goal of the season.
With Washington taking four penalties in the second period, Toronto would make the most of the man-advantage. Eventually, they broke through the Capitals’ penalty kill again with about seven minutes to go in the second.
Leo Komarov struck on a beautiful spin-o-rama pass from Auston Matthews to give Toronto a 4-2 lead.
Washington could only register seven shots on net in the second frame and went into the third period down two goals.
About two minutes into the third, Evgeny Kuznetsov found twine to pull Washington within one. Dmitry Orlov would tie the game around a minute later after blistering a one-timer off a pump-fake pass from Matt Niskanen right past Andersen.
It seemed to be back-and-forth the entire night, as Mitchell Marner took back the lead for Toronto with nearly eight minutes remaining in the third period. However, Washington wouldn’t give up that quickly, and after two minutes, John Carlson tied the game at five.
It took one shot and about 22 seconds for the Capitals to take the win, and it was all thanks to their captain. Alex Ovechkin scored in the most Ovechkin way possible: on a one-timer from the bottom of the circle.
WSH – Justin Williams (10) assisted by Dmitry Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov
TOR – Nazem Kadri (14) assisted by James van Riemsdyk and Mitchell Marner
TOR – Connor Brown (8) assisted by Zach Hyman and Auston Matthews
WSH – T.J. Oshie (12) assisted by Justin Williams
TOR – Frederik Gauthier (2) assisted by Connor Carrick
TOR – Leo Komarov (7) assisted by Auston Matthews and William Nylander
WSH – Evgeny Kuznetsov (4) assisted by Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams
WSH – Dmitry Orlov (2) assisted by Matt Niskanen and Lars Eller
TOR – Mitchell Marner (10) assisted by James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak
WSH – John Carlson (4) assisted by Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov
Alex Ovechkin (18) assisted by John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov
THW Three Stars
Justin Williams (one goal, three assists)
Evgeny Kuznetsov (one goal, three assists)
Mitchell Marner (one goal, one assist)
Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals
Verizon Center, 7 p.m. EST on Jan. 5
Broadcast Channels: CSNMA, FSOH
Toronto Maple Leafs at New Jersey Devils
Prudential Center, 7:30 p.m. EST on Jan. 6
Broadcast Channels: MSG+, SNO
Sammi Silber covers the Capitals beat for The Hockey Writers and is an NHL contributor with Sporting News. She has also contributed to USA TODAY College, Huffington Post, FanSided and the Nation Network. Silber has written four books and recently worked on graphics for the film, The California Golden Seals Movie.