The Capitals visited Toronto on Wednesday night for their last game before the All-Star break, but failed to hold on to an early lead, falling 6-3 to the Maple Leafs.
Washington enters the long weekend losers of seven straight, the franchise’s longest drought since 2014.
However, with a revitalized pace and a fighting attitude, the Caps looked more like themselves throughout the first forty minutes of the game.
After an accidental hit from T.J. Oshie early in the game, captain Alex Ovechkin left the bench to be seen by a concussion spotter.
During a first period power play, Evgeny Kuznetsov directed a sleek cross-net pass to Nicklas Backstrom to put the Caps on the board first. The lead was shortlived, though, as Toronto’s Nazem Kadri tied it up 1-1 less than a minute later.
Ovechkin returned to the ice late in the first period, and netted a goal in the second. The tally put him in the record books yet again, as he tied Sergei Federov for most points by a Russian-born player in the history of the NHL.
Ovi learned from the best! The Great 8 just tied former teammate Sergei Fedorov for the most points by a Russian-born player ⬇ pic.twitter.com/Y7j5WqjS9U
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) January 24, 2019
The Maple Leafs, who’ve worried recently about point production, showed up in the second and third periods with four more goals from Zaitsev, Matthews, and Kadri, who completed his hat trick in the middle of the third period.
A last minute empty net goal by Mitch Marner sealed the deal, and the Caps were down and out for the evening.
One thing to take away: Perhaps the most worrying stat of the Caps’ recent losing streak is that they’ve allowed an opposing player complete a hat trick in four of their last five games. Though their offense has looked better in the last two games, defense needs to be addressed immediately.
The highlight you should see: Despite the Caps’ defensive woes, rookie Jonas Siegenthaler exhibited great responsiveness in his plays, thinking on his feet in fast-paced, close-range situations.
Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.