Leafs Postgame: Capital Gains

To be the best, you’ve got to beat to best. At least, that’s what people say, and tonight, the Leafs were a team that eventually want to be the best facing a team that most definitely is. Impressively, the Leafs held their own against the Washington Capitals but ultimately dropped the result by a score of 3-2.


The Capitals opened up the scoring late in the first period with a pair of quick even strength goals that both made you swear that the Leafs were killing a penalty. Taylor Chorney rifled a wrist shot from the point to beat Jonathan Bernier, and Alexander Ovechkin rifled a one-timer set up by Nicklas Backstrom only 28 seconds later.

The Leafs started the second period off on a much more positive note, as Nikita Soshnikov absolutely wired his first career NHL goal. You could hear the scream of excitement back in Toronto. Just watch:

It ended up being the only goal of the second period, even as the Leafs continued to press, outshooting the Caps 14-6 over that span, though a crosscheck by Nazem Kadri left them shorthanded to start the third period.

Colin Greening scared the tank crowd midway through the third period by unleashing a heavy shot past Phillip Grubauer to tie the game up. As it turns out though, Soshnikov would give to both the hope and the tank on this night, as a penalty he took for sending Karl Alzner into the boards led to a game-winner by Matt Niskanen.

Overall, it was an extremely hard fought night, with the Leafs outshooting Washington in two of three periods. With the Caps on pace to have the best record in the Salary Cap era, holding on against them is no small accomplishment.

Tank Commander

There’s no point in a Blue Warrior, seeing as we all know that it’s going to Soshnikov. But we can definitely show some respect to his fellow countryman for his contributions! Ovechkin’s goal was his 32th goal against the Leafs in just 39 career games; you can tell he enjoys facing the team he watched as a kid.

Nicest Moment

It was really cool to see Brooks Laich get some recognition from his now-former fanbase after twelve years of service. I watch the Caps a lot and felt it was time for them to move on from him, but it still feels weird to see him in another jersey; even Toronto’s.

See You Next Time

On to the next… loss? The Leafs head back home to the Air Canada Centre, where they’ll take on the Minnesota Wild tomorrow.  Minnesota are 6-4-0 in their last ten and will no doubt be hungry for a win, seeing as they’re holding on to the final Wild Card spot for dear life. Puck drop is at 7:30 PM.

  • TGT23

    Wasn’t a great game but it was fine. Played competitive with one of the top teams in the NHL. Kids trying to figure out the NHL game but not looking all that bad.

    Team needs to figure out the PP, though. Three early chances, didn’t score, led to the first Washington goal.

  • Spinner_Spencer

    I really enjoyed this game and I thought the kids acquitted themselves quite nicely again.

    Nylander, while undoubtedly talented, seemed to me to get knocked off the puck rather easily. A little extra bulk, which I’m sure is coming, will probably make a big difference.

  • Spinner_Spencer

    There was so much to like about this game – the sheer speed and puck sense of Kapanen and Soshnikov; Carrick looks to be a savvy snatch by Lou; Nylander has some excellent moves, but hasn’t quite worked out this NHL level, but it will come.

    Marincin? Yikes!! Size and reach? YES. Smarts with the puck? NO!!

    Also. Ben Smith could be a key cog in the wheel over the net couple of seasons. Love his smarts and energy.

    • Jeremy Ian

      Agreed totally; it was a good game to watch and see where the development is heading. It’s a relief to see Babcock always talking to the guys, working on his clip-pad, keeping expectations real; this is his emergent team.

      Gardiner is the oldest member of the defense corps. The oldest.

      I don’t know what you do with Marincin — keep coaching him and see if he can get out of his mobile anxiety zone? Watching him play is like watching a scared animal.

      Kadri and Soshnikov? Interesting tandem. EDIT: Sosh is such an upgrade over Grabner — let’s watch that line fire it up.

      Holland is playing smart, solid, hockey.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Entertaining game. I did sense some Caps palyers like Ovi were just floating out there. But how does a team like this get motivated against the lowest teams?

    Bernier played very well imo along with the Russkie.

    Looking forward to the Sabres games. See how the Leafs have progressed by then. Then we will be better be able to give a final observation on the season and next season.

    Hoping a Chara-like player will be drafted and another Russian. How are they able to get work permits so quickly btw?

  • Metal thrashin dad

    Another great game for kappy. In my opinion he has been the biggest (pleasant) surprise from the call ups. Soshnikovs goal was just an absolute bullet, he looks better and better with every shift. Hyman is just a workhorse which is exactly what he was advertised to be, Dubas and keffe raved about him in an interview with Steve dangle, and he hasn’t disappointed. Willy, for me, has been a bit underwhelming (though I haven’t been able to watch all of both games because of work) it seem as though he is still trying to figure out the nhl, it’s almost as if he is just observing how it works and once he gets it he’ll start lighting it up.

  • Holy Mackinaw

    3 goals on 14 shots. .870 save percentage last night and a .897 save percentage on the year. one more year for $4.15 million…… another solid game for my man bernier…..