for this game

Ovechkin, Laich power Capitals past Maple Leafs

Dec 29, 2008 - 4:29 AM
WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- On a night when one of the franchise's great players had his number retired, the Washington Capitals were led to victory by their current phenom.

Alex Ovechkin scored the go-ahead goal and added an empty-net tally to lead the Washington Capitals past the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1, on Sunday.

Brooks Laich also had a pair of goals while Nicklas Backstrom and defenseman Mike Green each recorded a pair of assists for Washington, which improved to an Eastern Conference-best 15-1-1 at the Verizon Center.

"That's the way we have to win games," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "They're a high--scoring team, I think they're 10th in the league. And you can tell when they get the puck in your zone, they really cycle well."

Jose Theodore finished with 23 saves for the Capitals.

Hall of Famer Mike Gartner's No. 11 jersey was sent to the rafters prior to Sunday's game. Ranked second in team history in goals (397), assists (392) and points (789), Gartner joins Yvon Labre (No. 7), Rod Langway (No. 5) and Dale Hunter (No. 32) as the only Capitals to have their numbers retired.

While the pregame ceremonies belonged to Gartner, Ovechkin was able to steal a bit of the limelight.

The reigning Hart Trophy winner snapped a wrist shot that squeezed between the left arm and midsection of Toronto goaltender Vesa Toskala with 10 seconds left in the second period to put Washington ahead for good, 2-1.

The goal came at the end of a 4-on-4 after Jonas Frogren and Chris Clark were whistled for roughing penalties.

"That goal was coming," Ovechkin said. "It was coming. (Jurcina) made a pass and I just got some space to look what was going on and I just shoot it."

His team-leading 25th tally came with 34 ticks remaining in the third to extend the lead to three and put the game away.

"They make it really difficult," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "They play in-your-face hockey. We didn't have much room. There are some things we've gotten away from offensively. We're not shooting enough pucks toward the net and creating scrambling situations. It's something we're going to have to work on in practice."

Niklas Hagman scored 14:23 into the first for the Maple Leafs' only goal and a 1-0 lead, but the Capitals knotted the game on a power-play tally by Laich with 7:06 left in the second.

"I watched him a lot growing up," Laich said of Gartner. "He scored over 700 goals. When he left here, he was the games played leader, goals, assists, points, playoffs, you name it. He was Mr. Washington Capital and we couldn't let him down tonight. It was too big of a night for him and hopefully he enjoyed himself."

After Ovechkin put Washington ahead, Laich doubled the lead at the 15:43 mark of the middle period.

Toskala turned aside 25 shots for Toronto, which dropped its third straight game.

"They came pretty hard," Toskala said. "They had lots of chances. We were able to keep it a one-goal game. Too bad we we weren't able to score more than one goal."






  • 15
    roots
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Maple Leafs 1, Capitals 4  FinalDec 29 5:17 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 0 0 1
    WASHINGTON 0 2 2 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - NIKLAS HAGMAN 11 (MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI, JONAS FROGREN)
    14:23
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) BROOKS LAICH 9 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MIKE GREEN)
    12:54
    WAS - ALEX OVECHKIN 24 (MILAN JURCINA) 19:50
    3RD PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 10 (U

    Dec 28 9:45 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    WASHINGTON 4
    3RD PRD: WAS - (EN) ALEX OVECHKIN 25 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MIKE GREEN)
    19:27

    Maple Leafs 1, Capitals 4  3rd - 0:33Dec 28 9:44 PM
  • 10
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Maple Leafs 1, Capitals 3  3rd - 1:35Dec 28 9:43 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    WASHINGTON 3
    3RD PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 10 (UNASSISTED) 15:43

    Maple Leafs 1, Capitals 3  3rd - 4:17Dec 28 9:38 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 0 1
    WASHINGTON 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - NIKLAS HAGMAN 11 (MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI, JONAS FROGREN)
    14:23
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) BROOKS LAICH 9 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MIKE GREEN)
    12:54
    WAS - ALEX OVECHKIN 24 (MILAN JURCINA) 19:50
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Dec 28 8:55 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: WAS - ALEX OVECHKIN 24 (MILAN JURCINA) 19:50

    Maple Leafs 1, Capitals 2  2nd - 0:10Dec 28 8:55 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    WASHINGTON 1
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) BROOKS LAICH 9 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MIKE GREEN)
    12:54

    Maple Leafs 1, Capitals 1  2nd - 7:06Dec 28 8:42 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 1
    WASHINGTON 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - NIKLAS HAGMAN 11 (MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI, JONAS FROGREN)
    14:23
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TOR 9 9
    WAS 12 12
    GOALIES: TOR - VESA TOS

    Dec 28 8:00 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    WASHINGTON 0
    1ST PRD: TOR - NIKLAS HAGMAN 11 (MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI, JONAS FROGREN)
    5:37

    Maple Leafs 1, Capitals 0  1st - 14:23Dec 28 7:52 PM