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NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Washington

(Saturday, October 3rd)

Final Score: Washington 6, Toronto 4

Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Alexander Semin scored a pair of goals and dished out an assist, as the Washington Capitals built an early lead and held on to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-4, at Verizon Center.

Alex Ovechkin had a goal and two assists for the reigning Southeast Division champion Capitals, who were coming off a season-opening 4-1 victory over the Bruins on Thursday.

Brendan Morrison and Brooks Laich had a goal and an assist apiece. Mike Knuble added a score for Washington, which got 27 saves from Semyon Varlamov in the win.

"First five periods [of the season] were pretty good," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I was once told that anytime you win, you shouldn't complain because there's so many times you lose. I told the guys that it was a great win and a great start but that we have to learn how to win 6-1 when we are in this position and not think we are going to win 9-1."

Alexei Ponikarovsky and Mikhail Grabovski each scored a goal and dished out an assist for the Maple Leafs, who were coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to Montreal on Thursday.

Niklas Hagman and Lee Stempniak had a goal apiece while Vesa Toskala allowed three goals on only eight shots in the first period before being pulled in favor of Jonas Gustavsson, who turned aside 16-of-19 shots over the final two frames.

"We didn't do a very good job in front of Vesa," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "It gave me an opportunity to get Jonas a little bit of experience in a tough building and he made some really good saves."

Down by five, Toronto mounted a brief comeback in the final period starting when Ponikarovsky and Grabovski each scored a goal a little over three minutes apart early in the third to make it 6-3.

Hagman's score with 2:03 remaining brought Toronto within two, and Gustavsson was pulled for an extra skater with 1:47 to go but the Leafs were unable to draw any closer.

The Capitals jumped on Toronto early, scoring three first-period goals. Just 1:17 into the tilt, Ovechkin lit the lamp. Washington then capitalized on its first power play, as Knuble scored at the 9:12 mark. Laich's goal with 6:07 left capped off the impressive opening 20 minutes for the Capitals.

Toronto cut the gap to two when Stempniak took a pass from Ian White and made a move at the left circle before firing a wrister into a half empty net just 4:23 into the second.

The Capitals, though, responded with three unanswered goals to close out the period and take a commanding 6-1 lead. A Morrison goal midway through the stanza was sandwiched between a pair of Semin goals -- 5:27 and 16:02 mark.

Game Notes

Washington went 1-for-3 with the man advantage, while Toronto went 0-for-3 with the power play...These teams split four meetings during the 2008-09 season, as well as a pair of matchups held in Washington. In the most recent encounter in this series, the Leafs came through with a 3-2 shootout win in Toronto back in March.

10/04 01:29:13 ET

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