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game recap

Niskanen's goal gets Capitals past Maple Leafs

Ovechkin scores, Oshie gets three assists in Washington victory

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

Niskanen's go-ahead goal

TOR@WSH: Niskanen rifles one home on PP, regains lead

3/2/16: On the power play, Matt Niskanen whistles the puck through traffic, sneaking it past Jonathan Bernier, to give the Capitals a 3-2 lead

  • 00:56 •

WASHINGTON -- Defenseman Matt Niskanen is the latest weapon on the Washington Capitals' power play. He's helped them win back-to-back games.

With opponents taking away Alex Ovechkin's trademark shot from the left circle, the Capitals have turned to Niskanen for more than filling in for injured defenseman John Carlson on the man-advantage.

Niskanen's power-play goal midway through the third period helped the Capitals to a 3-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Verizon Center on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Niskanen's point shot found its way through traffic and deflected off T.J. Oshie for the game-winner in a 3-2 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I'm glad [Oshie] got credit for the one [Tuesday]. He deserved it, which he did," Niskanen said. "Our power play kind of goes in little streaks and which guys are open I think has a lot to do with it. The amount of video work teams do nowadays, the scouting and stuff, they try to take certain things away if you have some success, and then other things open up."

Video: TOR@WSH: Ovechkin rifles it home to extend the lead

Ovechkin and Taylor Chorney scored and Oshie had three assists for Washington (47-12-4), which is 20-2-1 in its past 23 home games. Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves.

"We're really confident in the power play and I think you have to be if you're going to go out there and put up good numbers," Oshie said. "There's so many ways we've been scoring them and that's going to be huge going into the end of the season here and the playoffs."

Nikita Soshnikov and Colin Greening scored and Jonathan Bernier made 20 saves for Toronto (21-31-10).

"We were in the contest," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "I think when you look at our team and look at our record, we've had tons of one-goal games and come up on the short end. We've just got to keep building the program."

Chorney opened the scoring at 18:15 of the first period. Off a feed from Oshie, Chorney beat Bernier with a wrist shot from the left circle. The goal was Chorney's first of the season and ended a 64-game goal drought in the NHL dating to Feb. 15, 2011.

Video: TOR@WSH: Greening fires it past Grubauer to tie it up

Ovechkin struck 28 seconds later to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead. After a Maple Leafs turnover, Nicklas Backstrom fed Ovechkin with a backhand pass and the latter scored from the left circle. Ovechkin leads the NHL with 41 goals and has scored 20 goals in his past 23 games.

The Capitals are 19-0-0 when leading after the first period and 29-2-0 when scoring first.

"They really smothered us when we had the puck and made us turn it over quite a bit," Oshie said. "Sometimes a good forechecking shift is just what you need over some highlight reel plays. Tonight, fortunately we had a couple of those and we were able to put them in."

Soshnikov scored at 1:37 of the second period to make it 2-1. On a broken play, Nazem Kadri picked up the puck and passed to Soshnikov, who scored with a wrist shot from the right circle.

The goal was Soshnikov's first NHL goal in his second game.

Video: TOR@WSH: Chorney snipes it home to provide the lead

"If you're not going to compete, it doesn't matter how much skill you have, you're not going to play in the National Hockey League very long," Babcock said. "There's a message in there for some of us. I thought [Zach] Hyman and [Soshnikov] were real good."

Greening tied the game at 8:16 of the third period on a shot from the high slot. But Niskanen scored on the power play at 9:31 of the third. His slap shot from the point found its way through a crowd and past Bernier.

"He's making sure it gets through traffic and that's exactly what a good power play is," Oshie said. "If they're going to take [Ovechkin] away, then we're going to find other ways."

Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt did not play and was listed as day-to-day because of a lower-body injury.

Video: Capitals outlast Maple Leafs in win

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