Speedy Capitals beat Leafs 6-4

Alexander Semin scored two goals and added an assist in the Washington Capitals’ 6-4 home opener victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

Alex Ovechkin scored a goal and 2 assists, while Brooks Laich and Brendan Morrison each had a goal and helper for the Capitals (2-0-0).

Mike Knuble also found the back of the net for Washington.

Lee Stempniak, Alexei Ponikarovski, Mikhail Grabovski, and Niklas Hagman scored for the Leafs (0-1-1).

Washington goalie Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves.

Vesa Toskala allowed three goals on eight shots and was replaced by Jonas Gustavsson at the start of the second.

The rookie netminder stopped 16 shots in his NHL debut.

After Friday morning’s practice, Toronto coach Ron Wilson said the key for his team was to try to keep the puck away from Ovechkin, but the Leafs had trouble containing him from the start.

The reigning Hart trophy winner snapped a wrist shot past Toskala 1:17 into the game on Washington’s first shot.

Knuble made it 2-0 at 9:12 when he collected the rebound off an Ovechkin shot and tucked it in on the powerplay.

Brooks Laich scored on a breakaway at 13:53 to give Washington a commanding 3-0 lead.

Lee Stempniak scored 4:23 into the second frame, trimming the Leafs’ deficit to 3-1.

The momentum was short lived as Semin scored off a rebound 64 seconds later to make it 4-1.

The Capitals netted two more goals in the period from Morrison and Semin to give them a 6-1 advantage heading into the third.

Alexei Ponikarovski registered the Leafs second goal at 2:04 in the final frame to make it 6-2.

Grabovski redirected a Luke Schenn point shot past Varlamov, bringing the Leafs to within three at 5:18.

Hagman scored with 2:03 remaining to reduce Washington’s lead to 6-4.

On Saturday, Washington played like the 1997-98 Capitals squad that Wilson coachedto the Stanley Cup finals.

The Leafs outshot Washington 31-27, but couldn’t keep up with a young Capitals squad, who had more quality scoring chances through 60 minutes.

Notes: The Capitals have now won eight consecutive home openers at the Verizon Centre … Toronto and Washington split the four-game series last season … Five players – Semin, Ovechkin, Laich, Morrison, and Nicklas Backstrom – had a multi-point game for Washington … Grabovski and Ponikarovski had a goal and assist for Toronto … Ovechkin now leads the league in points with six in two games.

About this article

By: Iain Colpitts
Posted: Oct 3 2009 7:53 pm
Filed under: Hockey Sports