for this game

Caps rack up big lead, hold on to down Leafs

Feb 26, 2012 - 7:06 AM
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist as the Washington Capitals raced out to a four-goal lead and downed the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-2, at Air Canada Centre.

Alexander Semin, Jeff Halpern and Keith Aucoin also lit the lamp for the Capitals, who earned their second straight win. Michal Neuvirth made 28 saves in the victory.

Colby Armstrong and Tim Connolly scored for the Maple Leafs, while James Reimer stopped 32-of-36 shots in Toronto's eighth loss in nine games.

Washington took the lead just 32 seconds into the game when Johansson grabbed a pass in the left circle before skating around the back of the net and beating Reimer with a wraparound.

Then, at the 3:46 mark of the first period, Semin snuck up from behind Toronto's Luke Schenn inside the Leaf's offensive zone, stole the puck and sent a wrister through Reimer's legs to make it a 2-0 game entering the first intermission.

"We're not playing with enough urgency right off the bat, especially in our building," Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "There is no reason for it and there is no excuse for it."

The Capitals added to their lead 11:31 into the second period when Halpern cleaned up Joel Ward's rebound by lifting a shot under the crossbar from the left of the net.

Aucoin finished off a tic-tac-toe play with 4:57 left in the middle stanza to give Washington a 4-0 lead.

Neuvirth made nine saves in the first period and 10 in the second to keep Toronto off the board, but Armstrong beat the goaltender with a wrister from the right circle that sailed into the far side 4:50 into the third.

Connolly's shot from behind the net that deflected off the skate of Washington's Dennis Wideman and past the goal line with 4:57 remaining in the game accounted for the final margin.

"For two periods we did a great job," said Halpern. "I'm sure we'll look at why we gave up so much in the third and made it interesting, but for the most part it was a good game."

Game Notes

Washington is 6-1-1 in its last eight meetings with Toronto...The Capitals improved to 11-18-3 on the road this season, while the Maple Leafs fell to 16-11-5 at home...Washington's Alex Ovechkin had two assists in the contest...Aucoin and Armstrong recorded their first goals of the season.