Capitals Rake Maple Leafs, 5-2; Erik Gustafsson Records First Career Hat Trick; Sonny Milano Tallies Three Assists

Photo: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals downed the the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-2 Saturday night at Capital One Arena. Capitals’ Defenseman Erik Gustafsson recorded his first career hat trick in the victory. The win improves the Capitals record to 16-13-4 (36 points) on the season.

Charlie Lindgren got the start in goal for the Capitals. Ilya Samsonov got the start between the pipes for the Maple Leafs. The Capitals forward lines and defensive pairs:

Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Conor Sheary
Marcus Johansson — Aliaksei Protas — T.J. Oshie
Sonny Milano — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Anthony Mantha
Nicolas Aube-Kubel — Lars Eller — Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson — John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin — Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Charlie Lindgren
Zach Fucale

Scratches: Lucas Johansen, Joe Snively.

Forward Nic Dowd was out with a lower body injury and goaltender Hunter Shepard was out with an upper body injury. Zach Fucale was recalled by the Capitals earlier in the day.


The Capitals opened the scoring with a goal from Erik Gustafsson (1) at 11:12 of the opening stanza. Sonny Milano (9) and John Carlson (12) had the helpers. Gustafsson’s goal was his first with the Capitals and halted Samsonov’s shutout streak at 163 minutes and 44 seconds.

But the Maple Leafs quickly answered. William Nylander (18) notched the tying tally at 13:12 of the frame. Austin Matthews (21) and Alexander Kerfoot (11) had the assists.

This time the Capitals would answer right back as well. Trevor van Riemsdyk (4) would answer with a tally at 14:48 of the first period. Anthony Mantha (11) and Sonny Milano (10) had the assists.

The period concluded with the Capitals leading, 2-1. The Capitals led in even-strength shot attempts, 23-20, and xGF 1.07 to .74 in the frame.


The Capitals extended their lead to 3-1 on Erik Gustafsson’s second goal for the game. Evgeny Kuznetsov (20) and Sonny Milano (11) had the helpers. It marks Gustafsson’s second career multi-goal game (also Feb. 2, 2019 at Minnesota as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks).

The Leafs quickly answered back, again. Auston Matthews potted his 16th tally of the season at 16:25 to make it 3-2. Connor Timmons (6) and TJ Bordie (4) had the assists.

TJ Oshie would leave the game with a non-contact injury late in the second period, and head directly to the room. The Capitals announced later in the period that it was an upper body injury and he would not return to the game.

The period concluded with the Capitals holding on to a 3-2 lead. The Maple Leafs dominated possession in the period, leading in even-strength shot attempts, 25-9.


The Capitals extended their lead to 4-2 with a goal from Garnet Hathaway just 10 seconds into the final period. Nick Jensen (12) had the lone assist.

The Capitals would make it 5-2 on Erik Gustafsson’s third goal of the game. He was assisted by Evgeny Kuznetsov (21) and Aliaksei Protas (4)

Gustafsson is the third defenseman in franchise history to score a hat trick, joining Kevin Hatcher (Jan. 13, 1993) and Sergei Gonchar (Jan. 4, 2000). Gustafsson is just the second defensemen in the NHL to record a hat trick this season (Erik Karlsson: Nov. 1 vs. Anaheim).

The Capitals held on for the 5-2 win.

The Capitals are back in action on Monday when they close-out their three-game home stand with a tilt against the Detroit Red Wings. Puck drop is set for 7PM.


  • Erik Gustafsson scored his first goal of the season and his first goal as a Capital to give Washington a 1-0 lead. Gustafsson ranks third among Capitals defensemen
    in points (1g, 10a) this season.
  • Hathaway’s goal came 10 seconds into the third period. That marks the second-fastest goal to start a period by a Cap this season (Lars Eller, 0:08 into the second period, Oct. 17 vs. VAN).
  • Trevor van Riemsdyk scored his fourth goal of the season to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead. van Riemsdyk has scored three goals in his last four games.
  • Sonny Milano recorded the secondary assist on van Riemsdyk’s goal, his second assist of the game. It marks Milano’s third multi-point game of the season. Milano has now recorded six assists in his last seven games.
  • Gustafsson is just the second defensemen in the NHL to record a hat trick this season (Erik Karlsson: Nov. 1 vs. Anaheim).
  • The Capitals have allowed two or fewer goals in six of their last seven games, dating back to Dec. 5. The Capitals have allowed 1.86 goals against per game in that span.

By Jon Sorensen

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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13 Responses to Capitals Rake Maple Leafs, 5-2; Erik Gustafsson Records First Career Hat Trick; Sonny Milano Tallies Three Assists

  1. novafyre says:

    Chuckie has impressed me more than Darcy this season. Don’t know stats. Maybe Chuckie had easier opponents, more uninjured teammates, but gut says he has been better. Caps should go with a goalie tandem splitting games, not giving Darcy #1 automatically.

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oshie has had the core:abdominal issue for a long time now. Didn’t he deal with that last season as well?

  4. Anonymous says:

    That’s the third best team in the league they just beat. Stats were a bit lopsided, but a win is a win.

  5. Jon Sorensen says:

  6. Jon Sorensen says:

  7. Jon Sorensen says:

  8. Diane Doyle says:

    Tonight’s game proved we needed Milano in the lineup. Glad he’s over whatever ailed him on Thursday. He had a really nice game today.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Milano is an absolute unit

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