-- The Toronto Maple Leafs got a huge lift from the returns of Bryan McCabe and Alexander Mogilny.
| Almo's groin apparently passed the test on this play. |
(Graig Abel Photography)
McCabe had a goal and an assist in his season debut and Mogilny returned from a groin injury to record two assists as the Maple Leafs posted a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.
McCabe missed the entire preseason and first seven games of the season due to a knee injury. Mogilny was sidelined for five games after registering a goal in the first two contests.
"I thought Bryan played a solid game for someone who missed training camp and has been out," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said.
"Alex is a great player and we missed him," Toronto captain Mats Sundin said. "The last couple of games, we're starting to score more goals but when Alex is out there, there's a chance he's going to create something."
Mogilny teamed with McCabe to give Toronto a 1-0 lead just 89 seconds into the second period, assisting on the defenseman's goal. Sundin added his 300th career goal as a Maple Leaf on the power play 4:14 later.
Joe Nieuwendyk scored his third goal in as many games early in the third and McCabe assisted on Darcy Tucker's empty-netter with 30 seconds left to seal the victory.
Toronto goaltender Ed Belfour stopped a season-high 38 shots and secured his 404th career win, moving him past Grant Fuhr for sixth place on the all-time list.
"Clearly, starts one, two and three was Belfour," Quinn said.
"The Washington team got themselves some really good scoring chances. Thank goodness Eddie had the type of game he's often had."
Belfour was solid in the first period as the Capitals were held scoreless, despite outshooting the Maple Leafs, 13-3.
McCabe, who had offseason knee surgery, one-timed a pass from Mogilny past Washington goalie Olaf Kolzig as the Maple Leafs took advantage of their first scoring chance of the second period.
"Alex could miss four years and still come back and play," McCabe said. "He did a great job of hitting my stick with the puck."
Mogilny also set up the goal by Sundin, who stopped the pass with his skate and redirected the puck into the net for his first tally of the season. Sundin has 435 career goals, including 125 with the Quebec Nordiques.
"Every year, you go through a period where the goals are not going in for you," he said. "You're a little more exposed when it happens at the beginning of the year."
Jaromir Jagr scored the lone goal for the Capitals, who are winless in their last seven games (0-6-1) after opening the season with a 6-1 rout of the New York Islanders. They lost the final five games of a six-game road trip that began with a tie in Toronto.
"When you're going like this, you need big plays from your big players," Washington coach Bruce Cassidy said.
"It's frustrating," Capitals right wing Mike Grier said. "Every night, it seems like we're right there, but we give up one big turnover and it ends up in the back of our net. It's something we definitely have to try and fix."