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game recap

Ovechkin scores No. 650, Capitals defeat Maple Leafs

Washington hands Toronto third straight loss, fourth in six games

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

Ovechkin's 650th career goal

WSH@TOR: Ovechkin uncorks one-timer for PPG

John Carlson takes the face-off win and sets up Alex Ovechkin, who crushes a one-timer into the net for a power-play goal

  • 00:54 •

TORONTO -- Alex Ovechkin scored his 650th NHL goal for the Washington Capitals, and the Toronto Maple Leafs lost their third game in a row, 3-2 at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday.

"It's close to playoff-style hockey (that we're playing), but we understand right now that every point is very important," Ovechkin said. "If you look at the standings, especially on the road, if you get a win or can get a point, it's a good result."

 

[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Maple Leafs highlights]

 

Braden Holtby made 40 saves, and Tom Wilson had a goal and an assist for the Capitals (34-20-7), who are 3-1-0 in their past four games and trail the New York Islanders by two points for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

"I thought Braden really allowed us to get our footing early on," Washington coach Todd Reirden said. "For the most part, we did a decent job of keeping it on the outside today. They obviously got some opportunities, as all skilled teams do, but he was excellent tonight for us."

Video: WSH@TOR: Wilson picks the corner on the rush for SHG

Andreas Johnsson and John Tavares scored, and Frederik Andersen made 25 saves for the Maple Leafs (36-20-4), who are 2-3-1 in their past six games and trail the Boston Bruins by four points for second place in the Atlantic Division.

"I think we did a lot of good things tonight," Toronto center Auston Matthews said. "They scored one on the power play, and we were fine, but then they scored the second, and it kind of took a bit of life out of us and took us a bit to get it back. All in all, I think we can be pretty happy with our effort, we battled back, it just wasn't enough."

The Maple Leafs outshot the Capitals 12-8 in the first period and 21-7 in the third.

"They played pretty good all game. Obviously, we got a couple timely goals, but they're a good team and they play well here," Holtby said. "We knew it was going to be a challenge, so we're happy to pull out two points. I feel comfortable, we're getting on the right track and limiting extreme Grade A chances, so I'm just trying to do my job out there."

Video: WSH@TOR: Holtby denies Nylander, Brown in tight

Ovechkin one-timed a pass from John Carlson above the left face-off circle on the power play to give Washington a 1-0 lead at 3:54 of the second period.

"Sometimes [the power play] is working, sometimes it's not, but I think when we play simple, it's pretty good," said Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 43 goals.

Brett Connolly made it 2-0 at 12:07 when he took a centering pass in the slot from Lars Eller and deked around Andersen's right pad.

Johnsson cut the Capitals lead to 2-1 at 4:23 of the third period when he put in the rebound of Matthews' wraparound attempt.

Wilson scored shorthanded on a 2-on-1 when he took a pass from Eller and shot past Andersen's blocker to make it 3-1 at 6:46.

"We're trying to build our game and be more consistent and put together a team effort, and for the most part tonight, we had four lines and all the defense contributing," Wilson said. "Holtby kept us in it too, he was unbelievable tonight."

Video: WSH@TOR: Tavares goes top shelf for late goal

Tavares made it 3-2 on a wrist shot from the slot with 33 seconds left.

"They have a lot of good elements, they're a big team with big bodies," Tavares said. "They play with pace, and they're a proven team with a lot of smart hockey players. They know how to play the game over the course of a season. When you play a team like them, you have to understand it's a long grind for 60 minutes."

 

They said it

"We didn't get the result, but we had a lot of pucks on net, did some good things, but I think at times we didn't sustain some of the momentum we would like. Obviously, we were playing a pretty good hockey team, but we have to find a way to get a result, find a way to get to another level and be able to capitalize on those opportunities." -- Maple Leafs center John Tavares

"It's his hometown. I wish I play in Moscow one time with the Capitals. I'd be pumped too." -- Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin on Tom Wilson, who has four goals in his past six games in Toronto, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs

 

Need to know

Ovechkin trails Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan by six goals for 13th in NHL history (656). ... Toronto forward Patrick Marleau played his 1,635th NHL game to tie Scott Stevens for eighth in NHL history. ... Andersen played his 300th NHL game. ... The Maple Leafs played without center Nazem Kadri, who missed the game after sustaining a concussion in a 3-2 overtime loss at the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

 

What's next

Capitals: At the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, MSG-B, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)

Maple Leafs: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, CBC, SN, CITY, TVAS, NHL.TV)

Video: Ovechkin, Holtby pace Capitals past Maple Leafs, 3-2

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