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game recap

Matthews' 10th goal of season helps Maple Leafs defeat Capitals

Forward continues torrid pace in Toronto's fourth straight win

by Brian McNally / NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Auston Matthews scored his 10th goal of the season and became the second player in Toronto Maple Leafs history to score in each of their first six games in a 4-2 win against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Saturday.

Matthews, who leads the NHL in goals, is the 15th player in League history to score at least 10 goals in his team's first six games. He is also the second player in Maple Leafs history to have multiple points in each of his first six games (Sweeney Shriner, 1944-45). Shriner also scored in each of Toronto's first six games.

"It's fine. It feels good to help contribute," Matthews said. "The most important part is we're winning games and this isn't an easy road trip for us. To come out with the points that we came out with is huge."

 

[WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Capitals highlights]

 

Morgan Rielly had an assist on Matthews' goal, which came at 18:21 of the third period. Rielly's six-game point streak (three goals, 10 assists) to start a season is the longest by a defenseman in Maple Leafs history.

Josh Leivo's power-play goal at 6:28 of the third period gave the Maple Leafs a 3-2 lead. Frederik Andersen made 25 saves for Toronto (5-1-0), which has won four in a row.

Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist for Washington (2-2-1). Braden Holtby made 24 saves.

Video: Clutch Performance: Matthews nets his 10th goal

Chandler Stephenson gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 18 seconds into the game when he tapped a rebound past Andersen after a shot by Kuznetsov.

Kasperi Kapanen tied it 1-1 at 3:30 of the second period when he deflected Ron Hainsey's shot from the point.

Kuznetsov's power-play goal from a sharp angle gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead at 4:39 of the second period.

Video: TOR@WSH: Kuznetsov roofs PPG from a sharp angle

Par Lindholm tied it 2-2 with his first NHL goal at 18:53 of the second when he redirected Jake Gardiner's feed past Holtby.

Leivo gave the Maple Leafs a 3-2 lead with their second power-play unit when he scored on a rebound after a shot by Andreas Johnsson.

"You have to have that. It's great that our big guys got off to a real good start because having them feel good is so important," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "Saying that, part of the reason we're going to have success is because we've got real good depth. Both teams tonight had real good depth. You can't play in high-level games like this without four lines that can play like that."

Video: TOR@WSH: Leivo buries PPG in front

Alex Ovechkin had two assists for the Capitals.

"We give them a little bit of energy," Kuznetsov said. "The first 10 minutes of the third period, we were kind of sloppy a little bit and I don't know why we [made] those mistakes but they got that goal."

 

They said it

"We know coming into this building it's going to be a challenge. Washington has been a powerhouse for years now. You know it's going to be a test for our group, and I thought we answered the bell. It was back and forth there. We made some big mistakes, but Freddie (Andersen) kept us in the game. The third period, we got back to playing our kind of game; fast, getting the puck in and playing for the most part simple, [which] allows our work ethic and skill to take over." -- Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews

 

"I really liked our first two periods keeping a very dangerous hockey to some limited chances, but we didn't manage the puck properly to start the third, and in turn we lost some of the momentum of the game. They started to tilt the ice a little bit in their favor." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden

 

Need to know

Kuznetsov leads the Capitals with nine points (four goals, five assists). … Matthews is the fifth player in the modern era dating to the 1943-44 season to have 10 goals in his team's first six games. He joins Chicago Blackhawks forward Bobby Hull (1965-66), New York Islanders forward Mike Bossy (1984-85), Minnesota North Stars forward Dino Ciccarelli (1986-87) and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Mario Lemieux (1988-89). … Rielly is the third defenseman in NHL history to have at least 13 points in his team's first six games. The others were Harry Cameron of the Toronto Arenas (nine goals, six assists) in 1917-18 and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Paul Reinhart (five goals, nine assists) in 1989-90.

 

What's next

Maple Leafs: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; SNO, FS-W, NHL.TV)

Capitals: Host the New York Rangers on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, NHL.TV)

Video: Matthews, Kapanen power Leafs past Capitals, 4-2

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