Capitals Rally, But Fall To Maple Leafs, 5-3; Tom Wilson Scores Twice

Photo: @Capitals

The Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Washington Capitals, 5-3 Monday night at Capital One Arena in Washington. The loss drops the Capitals record to 28-18-9 (65 points) on the season.

SUMMARY

The Maple Leafs opened the scoring less than three minutes into the contest with a tally from Michael Bunting. The Capitals answered with a deflected goal from Conor Sheary, but the Leafs would strike back with two goals just before the end of the period for a 3-1 lead at the first intermission.

The Capitals would close the gap to 3-2 midway through the middle frame with a power play goal from Tom Wilson. The score would hold for the remainder of the second period.

The Capitals would tie the score with a shorthanded goal from Tom Wilson, his second score of the game. But it would be the Leafs who finished strong. They would add a late goal from Rasmus Sandin to make it 4-3 and add an empty net goal for the 5-3 final.


STATS


STARTERS

Ilya Samsonov (17-9-0-3, 2.85 GAA, .904 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the  Capitals. Petr Mrazek (8-4-0-0, 3.07 GAA, .894 sv%) got the start in goal for the visiting Maple Leafs. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals:

Scratches: Daniel Sprong, Matt Irwin, Justin Schultz (injured).


FIRST PERIOD

The Maple Leafs opened the scoring early in the first frame on a defensive turnover in the Capitals zone. Martin Fehervary attempted to clear the puck but took a spill. As a result the puck was centered perfectly to Michael Bunting (19) who completed the easy finish. The goal was unassisted.

The Capitals would tie the game on a deflected shot by Conor Sheary (12) at 16:23 of the first frame. Nicklas Backstrom (12) and John Carlson (31) had the helpers.

But the Leafs would quickly answer. William Nylander (21) would notch the go-ahead tally at 18:49 on the first frame. John Tavares (31) and Alex Kerfoot (30) had the helpers.

The Leafs weren’t done for the period. They would make it 3-1 just before time expired in the period. Justin Holl (2) would push the puck across the line with two seconds remaining in the frame.

The period would end with the Leafs leading 3-1. The Capitals led in shot attempts 23-22, with the Maple Leafs leading in scoring chances 11-10 and high-danger Chances 6-5. They led in expected goals for 1.00 to .81.


SECOND PERIOD

Vitek Vsnecek replaced Ilya Samsonov to start the second period.

The Capitals closed the gap to 3-2 with a power play goal from Tom Wilson (16) at 10:11 of the middle frame. Alex Ovechkin (32) and John Carlson (32) had the assists.

That would be all of scoring in the middle frame. Shot attempts were tied 10-10 in the middle frame. Maple Leafs led in scoring Chances 6-2, with the Capitals leading in high-danger chances 1-0. Expired goals for were tied .23 to .23 for the second period.


THIRD PERIOD

The Capitals tied the score with a shorthanded goal from Tom Wilson (17) at 1:44 of the final frame.

The Leafs would add a late goal from Rasmus Sandin (3) at 16:37 of the final frame, to make it 4-3 and add an empty net goal for the 4-3 final.

The Capitals are back in action on Thursday when the host the Carolina Hurricanes at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM.


SHAVINGS

  • This was the 150th meeting all time between the two teams.
  • Vitek Vanecek made his first appearance since being injured on February 1.
  • Conor Sheary tied the game 1-1 with his 12th goal of the season. He’s now four points shy of 200 career points. He has 12 goals and 12 assists this season, and 98 goals and 98 assists in his career.
  • Nicklas Backstrom picked up the primary assist on Sheary’s goal, his second straight game with an assist. Backstrom is now four points shy of 1,000 career points (262g, 734a).
  • Tom Wilson cut Toronto’s lead to 3-2 with a power play goal. That marks his 16th goal of the season and his fourth on the power play. He’s now one shy of his career high of five power play goals set in the 2019-20 season.
  • Tom Wilson tied the game 3-3 with his second goal of the game. That marks Wilson’s second multi-goal game of the season (also Nov. 8, 2021 vs. Buffalo).
  • Wilson’s goal also marked the Capitals’ seventh shorthanded goal of the season, tied for the third most in the NHL.
  • Tom Wilson is the third Capitals player in the past 10 years to record a power-play goal and a shorthanded tally in the same game, joining Alex Ovechkin (Oct. 13, 2021) and T.J. Oshie (Nov. 16, 2016).
  • With 17 goals in 51 games, Wilson is on pace for career high 25 goals this season.
  • The Capitals now have a power play goal in eight of their last 11 games (9 power play goals in total).

SCENES FROM THE DISTRICT

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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