Alex Ovechkin scored 22 seconds into overtime and the Washington Capitals rallied to beat the Maple Leafs 6-5 on Tuesday night and end Toronto’s winning streak at five.
Ovechkin’s 18th goal of the season came after the Capitals erased multiple deficits to win their third in a row. The Russian superstar moved to within five points of 1,000 for his career.
Justin Williams had a goal and two assists, and T. J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and John Carlson also scored for Washington. Philipp Grubauer made 15 saves in relief of Braden Holtby, who was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots.
Nazem Kadri, Connor Brown, Frederik Gauthier, Leo Komarov and Mitch Marner scored for the Maple Leafs. Frederik Andersen made 23 saves.
Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock expected the Capitals’ best jab after a punchless effort the last time the teams met in Toronto in November. Williams struck first with his 10th goal of the season just 1:14 in, and Washington had the game’s first five shots.
There was no shortage of back-and-forth action or scoring the rest of the first period with Maple Leafs goals from Kadri, Brown and Gauthier sandwiched around Oshie’s 12th of the season. The start of the second period brought a goaltending switch as Capitals coach Barry Trotz pulled Holtby for Grubauer.
That didn’t slow Toronto, which broke through twice against Washington’s penalty kill — the Caps hadn’t allowed a goal in seven games dating to Dec. 16. But as is common with young teams, the Leafs suffered a third-period letdown as goals by Kuznetsov and Orlov tied the score at 4. Marner gave them back the lead on a nifty breakaway, but then Carlson scored with 6:05 left in regulation.
NOTES: It was the start of the Maple Leafs’ two-game fathers trip. … Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. … The Capitals won for the seventh time in eight games against the Maple Leafs. … Washington’s streak of 29 consecutive penalties killed ended with Kadri’s goal in the first period. … Toronto was coming off a victory over Detroit in the outdoor Centennial Classic on Sunday.
Maple Leafs: Play at New Jersey on Friday night.
Capitals: Try to stop Columbus’ 16-game winning streak on Thursday night. The Blue Jackets are one win shy of tying the 1992-93 Penguins for the longest streak ever in the NHL.