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Mar 20, 2024 10:28 pm

Leafs crush Caps behind Auston Matthews’ 5-point game

Leafs, Capitals

Auston Matthews had two goals and three assists to match his career-high point total and Max Domi contributed a career-best four assists to lead the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs to a 7-3 win against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

John Tavares and William Nylander each had a goal and two assists for the Maple Leafs (39-20-9, 87 points), who avoided what would have been their first three-game losing streak since mid-January. Jake McCabe, Bobby McCann and Tyler Bertuzzi also scored and Joseph Woll made 18 saves for Toronto.

Alex Ovechkin scored two goals to pull within 50 of surpassing Wayne Gretzky for the all-time NHL lead and Charlie Lindgren stopped 22 shots for the Capitals (33-26-9, 75 points), who came up short in a bid to win four in a row for the first time since mid-November.

Ovechkin has five goals in the past three games, 23 on the season and 845 in his NHL career. Washington also got a goal from Connor McMichael.

Ovechkin scored his second goal of the game at the end of two-on-one with Dylan Strome to cut the Capitals’ deficit to 4-3 at 6:42 of the third period.

Toronto answered with goals by McMann at 7:58 and Bertuzzi 38 seconds later off a behind-the-back feed from Matthews to make it 6-3.

Tavares made it three unanswered goals for the Maple Leafs when he scored from in close to make it 7-3 on a power play at 16:02.

Matthews gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead just 16 seconds into the game when he scored from the slot off a pass from below the goal line by Domi.

Toronto also scored in the opening minute of the second period to extend the advantage to 2-0.

Tavares made a blue-line-to-blue-line pass to Nylander streaking down the right side, and Nylander scored with a wrist shot from the right circle at 56 seconds.

The Capitals went on the first power play of the game and Ovechkin scored on a one-timer from the left circle at 9:57 of the second to cut the gap to 2-1.

Matthews scored his NHL-leading 57th goal of the season on a long wrist shot through traffic to make it 3-1 at 12:59 left in the second.

The Capitals replied 35 seconds later when McMichael banked the puck off Lindgren from just above the goal line.

McCabe re-established the two-goal lead when he scored off a deflection with 25 seconds left in the second period to make it 4-2.

–Field Level Media

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