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Toronto Maple Leafs hang on to defeat the Washington Capitals for third straight win

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By Neil Becker

 An unlikely pair of defenceman in Rasmus Sandin and Justin Holl combined to score the eventual third period go ahead goal as the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night went on to defeat the Washington Capitals by a 5-3 score.

This game featured a Capitals team who came into action having lost five straight at Capital One Arena and following the Leafs loss were booed off the ice.

Due to COVID-19, this was the first meeting between these two teams since October 16, 2019 where on that night at Capital One Arena, Toronto jumped out to an early 2-0 lead but ended up losing by a 4-3 score.
In Monday night’s victory, the Leafs  first line of Mitch Marner, Michael Bunting and Auston Matthews, which were coming off a 15 point performance in a 10-7 Saturday night win against the Detroit Red Wings, struck again for the first goal against Washington. Marner, who had four goals in that Saturday night win, fought off a Capitals player in corralling a lose puck in the Caps corner, which he passed out front to Bunting who stationed in the slot scored at 2:35 into regulation his 19th goal for a 1-0 Leafs lead.
Washington who had some quality chances were finally rewarded when with only 3:37 remaining in the first, former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Conor Sheary deflected a shot from teammate Nicklas Backstrom which fooled screened Leafs netminder Petr Mrazek in tying thing up at 1-1.
Toronto would grab back the momentum as they struck for two late period goals with the first of those coming from forward William Nylander who with only a little over a minute remaining in the first, scored the go-ahead and his 21st. of the season. This goal was engineered by a perfect  behind the net set-up from captain John Tavares. The second of those late period goals was a real back breaker for the Capitals as Holl scored his second with only two seconds left in the period to give Toronto a big insurance marker as they led 3-1 after 20 minutes of regulation. 
Unlike that crazy wide open Saturday night game, goals were much harder to come by as Capitals enforcer, forward Tom Wilson scored a power play goal at the 10:11 mark which made it a one goal game where it stayed heading to the third period. Wilson, who doesn’t get enough credit for his offense, made it a brand new game when just shy of two minutes into the third he capitalized on a shorthanded opportunity with his 17th goal.

The Leafs would prevail when with under four minutes remaining in regulation, Holl, sent a cross ice tape to tape pass to Sandin who had an easy tip in for his 3rd of the year and eventual go-ahead.

Washington pulled the goalie for an extra attacker, and that’s when Leafs forward Pierre Engvall took advantage as he skated in alone and scored with 61 seconds remaining into the open to clinch another big two points for the Leafs. 

Toronto now has 74 points, which puts them only one point behind the Florida Panthers for first place in the Atlantic Division.

The Leafs next see action on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena with a 7:30 p.m. opening face-off against the Buffalo Sabres.


                        SCORING SUMMARY                                      TOR- WSH

                          1ST. Period  

                          2:35  Michael Bunting (19)                               1  –  0

                          Mitchell Marner (32), Rasmus Sandin (11) 


                         16:23  Conor Sheary (12)                                 1  –  1

                         Nicklas Backstrom  (12), John Carlson (29)


                         18:49  William Nylander (21)                             2  –  1

                         John Tavares (32), Alex Kerfoot (28)


                         19:58  Justin Holl (2)                                        3  –  1

                         Mitchell Marner (33), Morgan Rielly (38)


                           2ND. Period                                                TOR- WSH

                        10:11 PPG- Tom Wilson (16)                              3 –    2

                         Alex Ovechkin (31), John Carlson (30)

                             3RD Period                                               TOR- WSH

                             1:44 SHG- Tom Wilson (17)                         3 –    3

                              Martin Fehervary (6), John Carlson (31)


                            16:37 Rasmus Sandin (3)                             4 –   3

                              Justin Holl (8), John Tavares (33)


                            18:59 EN Pierre Engvall (9)                          5  –    3

                             Ilya Mikheyev (4)




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