Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) – Jonathan Bernier stopped 35 shots and Tyler
Bozak tallied twice as Toronto took down Washington by a 6-2 count at Air
Joffrey Lupul and Morgan Rielly added a goal and assist each for the Maple
Leafs, who have recorded points in each of their last four outings (3-0-1)
since a 9-2 loss to Nashville on Nov. 18.
Toronto, which went 3-for-4 on the power play, also received tallies from Cody
Franson and David Clarkson, while James van Riemsdyk, Jake Gardiner and Phil
Kessel contributed two helpers each.
“The puck kind of is following me around a little bit. I’m playing confident,”
Troy Brouwer and Tom Wilson supplied offense for the Capitals, who were coming
off a home win against the Islanders but lost for the fifth time in eight
Justin Peters played the first and third periods, allowing three goals on 11
shots. Braden Holtby took over in the second and gave up three scores on 12
“We knew they were a team that could score from in tight, a lot of sticks and
a lot of deflections,” said Holtby. “I think all of us have to take
responsibility for not doing a good enough job in those areas.”
Holtby subbed for Peters to begin the second, but Toronto went up 3-0 as Bozak
tapped in a van Riemsdyk dish at the right post just 23 seconds in.
The Caps finally hit the scoreboard with 9:23 remaining in the middle frame,
as Brouwer scored on a power play, then Clarkson countered only 23 seconds
later on a wrister from below the circles.
Bozak’s tip of a Kessel drive with 4:24 left before the second intermission
staked the hosts to a four-goal edge.
Wilson beat Bernier at 7:43 of the third to pull the visitors within three,
but Lupul was in front to redirect a Gardiner drive on the advantage with
3:20 to play that re-established Toronto’s four-goal lead at 6-2.
Rielly’s third goal of the season gave the Leafs the lead with 5:45 remaining
in the opening period, then Franson snapped a shot past Peters with 22.3 on
the clock as Washington’s Matt Niskanen sat for a holding infraction.
Washington had won the last two and three of the last four meetings with
Toronto … The Leafs recorded their first home win over the Capitals since a
3-2 result on Jan. 31, 2013 … John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom each posted
two assists for the Caps.