Late Game Heroics from Maple Leafs Blueline Leaves Capitals Winless in Three Games

Following a wild 10-7 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs travelled to Washington, D.C to take on the Capitals in their first meeting since late 2019.

Heading into the game Washington had only won twice in their previous five contests and have only won four games during the month of February, so they came into the game looking to end the month on a higher note than it has been in recent weeks.

The aforementioned Leafs were coming off that wild 17 goal thriller in Detroit and were on a two game win streak after dropping their previous three games in a row.

Toronto’s much praised top line got the scoring started early after Michael Bunting got his 19th goal of the season after Mitch Marner slid the puck out in front of the Capitals net where Bunting was streaking in, before lifting the puck over young Capitals netminder Ilya Samsonov.

Tweet Credit: @SNStats

Washington came ever so close to tying the game up just a few minutes later when a point shot from John Carlson was tipped in the slot by Garnet Hathaway, which ended up sneaking by Petr Mrazek but was remarkably kept out of the net by Auston Matthews who blocked it while it was about 3/4 into the net.

Tweet Credit: @Sportsnet

Washington would end up levelling the score however as with just under four minutes to go as Connor Sheary redirected another point shot, this time from Nicklas Backstrom, for his 12th goal of the season.

Toronto wouldn’t leave the first period without getting some retaliation though however.

With just over a minute to go in the first John Tavares held the puck behind the Washington net where he was met by two defencemen, but a high alert play saw Tavares sent the puck out front to his lineman William Nylander to give the Leafs the lead again, but Toronto still wasn’t finished.

In the dying embers of the period a scramble infront of the Capitals net saw players on both teams fighting for the puck in the crease before an unlikely candidate in Justin Holl joined the pile of players and banged home his second goal of the season with just two seconds left in the period.

As the Leafs headed down the tunnel to the dressing room for the first intermission up 3-1, many fans had to steady their nerves after seeing countless 3-1 leads dissipate from this current Leaf squad.

Their feelings would be not without warrant as the Leafs allowed Tom Wilson to score on one of three Capitals power plays midway through the second period. Wilson would find the back of the net once more, this time shorthanded, just under two minutes into the third period to even the game at three.

Tweet Credit: @TicTacTOmar

With his two goals against the Leafs Tom Wilson has 18 goals on the season, which puts him four goals back of his career high of 22 set in 2018-19.

It would be the Leafs who would have the last laugh in the game however as a beautifully worked passing play with just under four minutes to play in the final frame saw Rasmus Sandin fire home his third goal of the season to give Toronto a 4-3 lead, before Pierre Engvall outworked the Capitals defence to slot home his ninth goal of the season into the empty net.

Tweet Credit: @TicTacTOmar

Often maligned defenceman Justin Holl has put together back to back productive games for the Leafs, after being scratched for games against Columbus and Minnesota last week, he now has 5 points (1G, 4A) in the Toronto’s last two games.

With Marner’s two assists on the night he now has points in four straight games and has 34 points in his last 18 games, as he is up to 56 points on the season.

Leafs captain John Tavares also made it an unlucky 13 games in a row without finding the back of the net, but he did pick up two crucial assists on the evening but only threw one shot on goal, keep an eye out for Johnny Pyjamas to break out of his slump soon.

Toronto is looking to make it four wins in a row when the Buffalo Sabres head to town on Wednesday night, while Washington looks to get back in the win column on Thursday night when they play the very formidable Carolina Hurricanes at home.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s