NHL Game Summary - Washington at Toronto
(Wednesday, January 23rd)
Final Score: Toronto 3, Washington 2
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Mats Sundin scored the game-winning goal with 29.2 seconds to play, as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Washington Capitals, 3-2, at Air Canada Centre.
The Leafs emerged victorious while playing their first game under interim general manager Cliff Fletcher, who replaced the fired John Ferguson on Tuesday.
Alex Steen ended with a goal and an assist, and Chad Kilger also scored for Toronto, which has won four of its last five games. Nik Antropov added two assists, and Vesa Toskala made 30 saves to extend his personal win streak to four games.
Alex Ovechkin scored for the Caps, extending his point streak to six games. He has seven goals and four assists in that span, and nine goals in his last eight games overall. Ovechkin has a league-best 39 tallies, two better than Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk in that category.
"He's fast in creating chances all the time," Toskala said of Ovechkin. "He shoots so hard you have to keep an eye on him all the time."
Alexander Semin also tallied for Washington, which was denied its first five- game win streak in nearly seven years, with the last run coming March 3-11, 2001. Olaf Kolzig turned aside 21-of-24 shots in defeat.
With Toronto up 2-1 heading to the third, Washington tied it on Semin's marker with 6:53 remaining. The Caps won the draw in the offensive zone and the puck found its way to David Steckel, who then connected with a wide-open Semin.
The speedy forward took a long stride toward the net, deked around Toskala and easily tucked the puck in the cage, highlighting a huge defensive breakdown by the Leafs.
Sundin, though, got the game-winner in the final minute. The Leafs' captain engaged in a race to the puck from the neutral zone, and after Steen's shot kicked off the right pad of Kolzig, Sundin was there to bury the rebound.
These teams meet again Thursday in Washington.
"They are a fast team," Sundin said of the Caps. "Good offensively. They have played us well the last few weeks as any team in the league. We knew the game was going to be tough,and we played as well as we have the last few games. Played well defensively, cut down on odd-man rushes and have to keep doing more of the same things tomorrow night to be successful."
Toronto got the only goal of the first period, as Kilger found open space in front of the net and tipped home a shot by Anton Stralman at 7:12.
The Caps tied it up early in the second, as Ovechkin broke from coverage, picked up a loose puck in the slot and wristed it over Toskala at the 2:27 mark.
Toronto answered back with just 1:16 remaining in the stanza, after Kolzig got steamrolled in front by his own defenseman. The netminder fell prone to the ice and Steen banged home the disc from the right side off a pass from Sundin.
Leafs forward Alexei Ponikarovsky injured his shoulder late in the first period after absorbing a hit by defenseman Steve Eminger. Ponikarovsky did not return and will likely be out "weeks", according to Toronto head coach Paul Maurice...The Caps remained three points back of idle, first-place Carolina in the Southeast Division...Washington ended 0-for-4 on the power play, while Toronto went 0-for-3...Sundin's 21st goal of the season tied him with Maurice Richard (544) for 24th in all-time NHL goals. It was his 93rd game- winning goal, third among active players in the league...Washington has not won a game this year when trailing after two (0-20-1).
01/23 22:51:46 ET