NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Washington
(Sunday, December 28th)
Final Score: Washington 4, Toronto 1
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Brooks Laich and Alex Ovechkin scored two goals apiece to lead the streaking Washington Capitals to a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Verizon Center.
Ovechkin upped his season total to 25 goals, tying him with Buffalo's Thomas Vanek for second in the NHL, one behind Philadelphia's Jeff Carter for the league lead. He helped Washington win its third in a row and eighth in its past nine. Jose Theodore made 23 saves in the win for the Capitals, on the night they retired Mike Gartner's No. 11 jersey.
Washington did so before the game, honoring the Hockey Hall of Famer who ranks second in Capitals history in goals (397), assists (392) and points (789). Gartner becomes the fourth player in Capitals history to have his number retired, joining Yvon Labre (No. 7), Rod Langway (No. 5) and Dale Hunter (No. 32).
Niklas Hagman scored the lone got for Toronto, which has lost three in a row and posted only four combined goals during that stretch. Vesa Toskala turned aside 25-of-28 shots for the Leafs.
Hagman got Toronto on the scoreboard first, tallying his 11th goal of the season with 5:37 left in the opening period. But two consecutive goals gave Washington the lead.
Laich netted a power-play marker with 7:06 remaining in the middle period, and with just 9.2 seconds left, Ovechkin beat Toskala during a 4-on-4 situation. Ovechkin had the puck while skating into the right circle, and snapped a shot around his defender, off Toskala's chest and into the net, his 24th of the season.
The game remained a 2-1 affair well into the third period, though about at the midway point of the final stanza, a Toronto shot bounced off the left post to prevent the equalizer. Then, with just 4:17 left in the contest, Laich put the puck past Toskala again, and Ovechkin scored on an empty net in the final minute to secure the win.
Washington forward Matt Bradley hit his head on the boards in the third period, after falling down on a missed check, and needed help from the trainers to skate off the ice...Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green each had two assists for the Caps, who play at Buffalo on Tuesday...The Leafs host Atlanta on Tuesday.
12/28 22:00:27 ET