Toronto struggled to find offense for the second game in a row as they failed to clinch a playoff spot Tuesday night.
After the impressive five-goal outing against the Canadiens on Hockey Night in Canada, the Leafs have hit a wall offensively. What’s even more puzzling, Joffrey Lupul returned to action in Washington.
Ben Scrivens was left out to dry for the first half of the game, making more than a few impressive saves. But it was special teams that would prove to be the difference.
Alexander Ovechkin set up Martin Erat for his first goal in a Capitals uniform on a power play early in the second period. The Great Eight then found the net himself on another power play ten minutes later.
Mikhail Grabovski ended his 11-game scoring drought just three minutes into the third period, but the Caps squashed any comeback hopes with another power play goal.
Washington has completely torched the Leafs on the man advantage this season, going 5-for-12 on the year. The three scored Tuesday night came as an unpleasant surprise to a team who had killed 91 of its previous 98 attempts.
Toronto looked flat in their second game in as many nights, scoring just three goals in two contests. For the second straight night, the Leafs’ goaltender was their best player.
Despite getting beat five times, Ben Scrivens had a rather flashy performance. The most impressive save coming against Ovechkin when he undressed Jake Gardiner, forcing him to make a spectacular toe save.
Kadri tipped the first goal passed him, Troy Brouwer scored an absolute dandy on an odd-man rush and the first two power play goals were humanly-impossible to stop.
Someone should have stood in front of Ovie?
Ovechkin was left wide open on Erat’s goal and then again on his goal. It’s no secret that the key to shutting down the Caps’ power play is to keep a man in front of number eight at all times.
Toronto made a bid for a comeback with more offense in the last half of the game, but failed to sustain any real threat.
“We weren’t very good,” said head coach Randy Carlyle. “We didn’t do a lot of things right.”
As much of a dull response that is, that’s just how the game went for blue and white. Not much materialized and they were out-worked and out-skated all night.
The five goals against is a shame of a result for such a good performance from Scrivens. The game was looking like a mirror image of the game the night prior when Reimer made save-after-save to keep the Leafs in it the whole way.
Early in the second period, the shots were 18-9 for the Caps. Those weren’t just any ordinary shots on goal either.
The blemish in the game that overshadowed the performance? Special teams. Against the league’s top power play, the Leafs’ top three penalty kill failed to respond; that was simply all she wrote.
The Buds will have to regroup for their next two outings as they face the two teams who trail them in the standings.
Toronto will host the New York Islanders Thursday night before heading to the nation’s capital to square-off against the Senators for the final edition of the Battle of Ontario.