Maple Leafs beat Capitals 3-2

On Thursday, the Washington Capitals traveled to Toronto for a game against the Maple Leafs and Ilya Samsonov. Would Sammy be able to thwart the club that drafted him or give them their first win of the season?

John Tavares kicked things off with a power play goal. Nic Dowd and Marcus Johansson burned their former teammate in the Toronto net to turn things around for the Caps after the first twenty minutes.

Calle Jarnkrok put things right early in the second via the Caps defensive breakdown. Auston Matthews deflected a stunned Charlie Lindgren to give Toronto a third-period lead.

The Maple Leafs beat the Capitals 3-2.

  • Uh, so, a big welcome to the Capitals cage for Charlie Lindgren. He had to face 22 shots in the first period alone and he stopped 21. If it’s not for him, I think the Caps will face three or four goals against. For a team that talked a lot about needing to get off to a better start after the loss to the Bruins… they failed everywhere but the scoreboard.
  • The first period gave us a back-to-back look at the Capitals’ power play and the Maple Leafs’ power play. It couldn’t be a more rigid dichotomy. Caps have one option and only one option and it’s very predictable outside of that option. The Leafs had all five players involved in their power play touching the puck and trading with each other. It was scary for more than one reason.
  • Uh, The Rock was at the game. No word on whether he recognized his tribal leader.
  • The second period was excellent from the Caps apart from the last two minutes. They really accelerated and ultimately spent a lot of time in the offensive zone. Their first five high-risk chances of the game came in the second quarter.
  • Capitals defensemen have been downright awful early in the season. I think Erik Gustafsson was sort of the best of the six. The amount of surges, pinches and rash bets combined with lazy, positionless defending was absurdly annoying to watch.
  • Aliaksei Protas was the team’s best striker in both games for me. If he adds a little finishing to his game, he will become an NHL monster. He’s only 21 and his ability to make small plays of skill paired with his big build and working nature to dig pucks behind the net and in the corners is impressive.
  • This second line is really gelling. I was really impressed with Dylan Strome’s defensive play, which is weird because he’s not really known for his work on that side of the puck. Anthony Mantha also seems to be working very hard to start the year.
  • I need a personal fast forward button where I can just not watch the Capitals power play. I’m so tired, friends. So tired. 0 against 9 to start the season and I think the opposition had more chances on the penalty kill.
  • Ilya Samsonov was meh in his first game against his old buddies. There was the good and there was the bad. A very typical Sammy debut.
  • The Caps had won the tie in the defensive zone without fail the day before the Leafs’ third goal and Nick Jensen immediately threw the puck into his own bench without any pressure. Objective difficult to give up but completely avoidable.

The Caps will have the day off tomorrow before heading home to face the Montreal Canadiens. Need a win there.

Main photo via @JohnWaltonPxP/Twitter

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