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NHL Game Summary - Washington at Toronto



(Saturday, December 23rd)

Final Score: Washington 3, Toronto 2

Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Alex Ovechkin scored and goal and added an assist as the Washington Capitals held on to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2, at Air Canada Centre.

Dainius Zubrus also had a tally and an assist as the Capitals snapped their two-game losing streak. All of Washington's goals came on the power play.

Alexander Semin also scored for the Caps and Olaf Kolzig turned away 35-of-37 shots in the victory.

Mats Sundin scored both goals for Toronto, which has lost three straight contests. Andrew Raycroft stopped 24-of-27 shots for the Leafs, with nine of them coming in the final period.

Both teams came out playing a spirited first period, but neither team was able to light the lamp. Raycroft stopped all seven shots for the Leafs in the frame, including a save on Ovechkin midway through the period. The Russian star had the puck bounce into the high slot and was all alone on the Toronto netminder but couldn't put the disc past Raycroft.

Kolzig was just as strong for the Capitals in the first stanza, stopping all 11 Maple Leafs' chances.

"You guys (media) haven't watched our team much this year," Kolzig said about the Maple Leafs comeback. "Our motto is, never leave a Caps game early. We're a young team and we're still learning how to win."

The game remained scoreless until Washington finally got on the scoreboard with 8:59 left in the stanza with the man advantage. After a scramble in front of the Toronto goal, Ovechkin picked up a loose puck in the goal crease and beat Raycroft high to the stick side to give the Caps the 1-0 lead.

Washington added to their lead 88 seconds later. With Sundin in the penalty box for holding, the Capitals went to the man advantage and capitalized when Semin took a pass from Zubrus in the high slot and beat the Toronto netminder on a wrist shot to the glove side to make 2-0.

"I was just trying to get to the net," Zubrus said. "Alex made a great play and I was heading for the net and able to take a shot."

The Caps continued to pour it on with 1:33 left in the second period. Again, with Sundin off the ice for a penalty, Washington capitalized for its third power-play tally of the period.

Ovechkin skated the puck through the neutral zone, and from the top of the left circle found Zubrus to the right of the Maple Leafs net. Zubrus then pulled out in front and got the disc past Raycroft high to the stick side to increase the advantage to 3-0 prior to heading into the second intermission.

Toronto started the third by killing a 5-of-3 disadvantage and then went on the offensive attack. Sundin was awarded a penalty shot when he was pulled down from behind while heading toward the Washington goal 3:16 into the period.

Sundin skated in on Kolzig and roofed a shot over Kolzig's glove hand and just under the crossbar to get the Leafs on the board, cutting the deficit to 3-1.

They would strike again just 14 seconds later when Jeff O'Neill had the puck along the left wing boards and fed it to Sundin. The Toronto captain took a soft wrist shot from in close and squeezed the puck through the legs of Kolzig for his second goal of the contest, and Toronto was down just a goal at 3-2.

Game Notes

Maple Leafs center Michael Peca had successful surgery to repair a broken right leg and torn knee ligaments sustained when he had a knee-on-knee collision with Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jim Vandermeer in a 3-1 loss on Friday night...Washington was 3-for-6 on the power play, while Toronto was 0-- for-3...Kolzig recorded an assist on Ovechkin's goal in the first period. It was the Washington goaltender's 17th career assist...The Maple Leafs will host the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, and the Capitals will travel to Buffalo to play the Sabres also on Tuesday.

12/23 22:40:22 ET


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