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POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Caps 4, Leafs 3 (OT)

Big stars lead the way as Caps finish October and road trip with a flourish, Ovechkin climbs the ladder, Carlson sets club mark, much more

by Mike Vogel @VogsCaps / washingtoncaps.com

Blanket Of Stars - A road trip to remember came to a glorious conclusion on Tuesday night in Toronto when Alex Ovechkin rifled home a shot from his office on the power play in overtime, sending the Caps back to the District in style, with a 4-3 win over the Maple Leafs.

Washington's top players were at their best in Tuesday's triumph.

Ovechkin and John Carlson each had two goals, and Ovechkin had four points on the night. Nicklas Backstrom had three assists and was pressed into extra penalty killing duty when Nic Dowd left the game with a lower body injury in the first period. T.J. Oshie made a brilliant play to set up Ovechkin's first goal, which ultimately forced the overtime. Braden Holtby made 28 saves - including 10 of 11 while Washington was shorthanded - to earn his fifth win of the season. Holtby has helped the Caps to at least a point in five straight starts (4-0-1).

At the end of the first period of Tuesday's game, the Caps had eight shots on net. Five came from Carlson, three from Ovechkin. By night's end, the duo had combined to account for just over half of the Caps' total of 33 shots on goal (10 for Ovechkin, seven for Carlson).

"I thought our leaders did an amazing job tonight," says Caps coach Todd Reirden. "If you look at the results offensively that we get, but then the play that Oshie makes, obviously the two goals by Carlson, the two goals by Ovi, two helpers by Ovi, three helpers by Backstrom, and then Holtby stopping those 3-on-5 situations and the penalty kill.

"That, to me, really sums up our group. We've have a strong, strong effort by our leadership group to start the year."

Video: Todd Reirden Postgame | October 29

The Magnificent Seven - Washington finished the month with a 7-1-1 record on the road, and it let third-period leads slip away in its two road losses (Oct. 10 in Nashville and Oct. 24 in Edmonton). When the Caps won the Stanley Cup in 2017-18, they picked up their seventh road win of the season on Dec. 14 in Boston, when they improved to 7-7-1.

The Caps join the 2009-10 New Jersey Devils as just the second club in NHL history to roll up as many as seven road victories in the month of October. The Devils were a perfect 7-0-0 in October of 2009, with three of their wins coming in the shootout.

Special teams were critical in the Caps' road success this month. The Caps were successful in 32 of 37 penalty killing missions on the road (86.5 percent), and they went 10-for-29 on the power play (34.5 percent).

"It was a pretty amazing road trip when you take a look back at it," says Reirden. "It's really important now that we take some of this momentum from this trip and take it home with us."

Move On Up - Ovechkin's first goal of the game tied him with Hockey Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille for 12th place on the league's all-time goals ledger, and his second goal of the game nudged him past Robitaille and into sole possession of 12th place. Ovechkin is now 15 goals south of Teemu Selanne (684), who occupies 11th place on the list.

Along with Brett Hull (741) and Steve Yzerman (692), Selanne is one of only three players ahead of Ovechkin whose playing careers overlapped his own.

Ovechkin's overtime game-winner on Tuesday is the 23rd of his NHL career, adding to his own league mark. He now has 35 career overtime points (23 goals, 12 assists) to tie Jaromir Jagr (19 goals, 16 assists) for second place on the NHL's all-time mark for most overtime points. Patrik Elias holds the all-time mark with 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists).

Video: WSH@TOR: Ovechkin buries game-winner in overtime

Johnny Ace - Carlson recorded his eighth multiple-point game of the season, and the fifth two-goal game of his NHL career on Tuesday. Two of those two-goal games came on this road trip - he had two goals in Calgary on Oct. 22 - and three of the five have come in calendar 2019.

Carlson finished the month with 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) in 14 games, and only one blueliner in league history ever finished October with more points. That would be Hockey Hall of Famer Al MacInnis, who notched 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in 13 games with the 1990-91 Calgary Flames.

With his 23 points in October, Carlson also establishes a new mark for most points by a Washington defenseman in any month, eclipsing Sergei Gonchar, who had 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in January, 2000.

Finally, Carlson's two-goal night on Tuesday gives him 426 career points (97 goals, 329 assists). That ties him with Kevin Hatcher (149 goals, 277 assists) for third place all-time among all Washington defensemen in scoring.

Power Trio - The Caps spent a total of 12:53 on the man advantage in Tuesday's game, going 2-for-7 on the power play. Ovechkin barely left the ice while the Caps were a man to the good; he logged 12:32 in power play ice time. Both Carlson (10:29) and Backstrom (9:48) were close behind.

Red October - The Caps finished a rugged October schedule in fine fashion, posting a 9-2-3 record and setting franchise standards for wins (nine) and points (21) in the season's first month.

Shake It Off - The Leafs scored on their first shot on goal of Tuesday's game, the fourth time in 13 games this season that Washington has yielded the game's first goal on the opposition's first shot of the game. The Caps have bounced back to win three of those four games.

Missing Man - Nic Dowd left the game with a lower body injury in the first period. He took a twirl before the start of the second period, but wasn't able to continue and is listed as day-to-day.

By The Numbers - Carlson led the Capitals with 27:58 in ice time … Ovechkin led the Caps with 16 shot attempts, and he and Carlson (10) combined to account for 26 of Washington's 62 shot tries (41.9 percent) on the night … Garnet Hathaway led the Caps with four hits … Radko Gudas led Washington with three blocked shots.

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