Well, the Maple Leafs actually scored first in this one. But it didn’t seem to matter as the Capitals did what the Leafs did to the Wild on Tuesday. After a strong start the Capitals took over in the second and never looked back.
Kasperi Kapanen opened the scoring with his first of the year. The goal being of the shorthanded variety. Kapanen led Toronto in shorthanded goals last season with two and is the first Leaf to net one this season. Ilya Mikheyev doubled the buds lead at 10:58 in the first.
The Capitals cut the lead in half thanks to a Jakub Vrana goal at 18:59 but all around a good opening period by the slow starting Leafs.
One minute and 18 seconds. That’s all it took for the Capitals to go from 2-1 down to being on top 4-2. With goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom, and John Carlson the Capitals took all of the momentum and rode with it. The Leafs couldn’t get much going for the rest of the period.
In the final frame the Capitals were content with sitting back and playing sound defensively. The Leafs brought one back with the net empty at 17:27 from a John Tavares wrist shot from the slot. But with just over two and a half minutes left in the game the Leafs maintained control of the puck within the Capitals zone but never generated a great scoring opportunity.
Ilya Samsonov, starting in place of Brayden Holtby continued to impress during his third career start saving 29 of the Leafs 32 shots. If Holtby continues to struggle Samsonov could be looking at more time in the crease for Washington.
Kapanen’s three points led the Maple Leafs on a down night. People have been quick to panic about Kapanen’s slow start but swapping him and Trevor Moore has looked like it might just work.
Michael Hutchinson has now given up nine goals over his two starts so far this year. By no means do I think he is on a short leash but it would be nice to see him bounce back during his next start. His next start will most likely be next Monday against the Columbus Blue Jackets as the Leafs have to travel to Boston the night after.
The next game for the Maple Leafs is the first of two games against Boston within four days as they battle the Bruins during Hockey Night in Canada.
Puck drop is Saturday at 7:00 PM EST.