The game was a rematch of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final, where the Capitals defeated the Maple Leafs in six games to win their second championship in franchise history. The Leafs were looking for revenge, but the Caps showed their resilience and determination to earn the two points.
Leafs Dominate Early
The Leafs dominated the first period, outshooting the Caps 15-6 and taking a 2-0 leadAuston Matthews opened the scoring at 6:23 with his 10th goal of the season, beating Ilya Samsonov with a wrist shot from the slot itch Marner doubled the lead at 14:51 with a power-play goal, deflecting a shot by Morgan Rielly past Samsonov.
The Caps got one back at 18:12, when Nicklas Backstrom scored his fifth goal of the season on a rebound from a shot by John Carlson. The goal gave the Caps some momentum heading into the second period.
Caps Rally in Third
The second period was scoreless, as both teams tightened up defensively and traded chances. The Leafs had a slight edge in shots, 11-10, but neither team could find the back of the net.
The third period was a different story, as the Caps came out with more urgency and intensity. They outshot the Leafs 17-8 and scored two goals to tie the gameTom Wilson made it 3-2 at 7:34 with his fourth goal of the season, tipping a shot by Justin Schultz past Jack Campbell Evgeny Kuznetsov tied the game at 15:12 with his seventh goal of the season, finishing a beautiful passing play with Ovechkin and Carlson.
The Leafs had a chance to win the game in regulation, when they got a power play with 2:08 left. However, the Caps killed it off and forced overtime.
Ovechkin Delivers in Overtime
The overtime period was fast and furious, as both teams had several opportunities to end the game. The Leafs had a 4-on-3 power play for 1:07, but Samsonov made some key saves to keep the game alive. The Caps then got their own power play, when William Nylander tripped Kuznetsov at 3:53.
The Caps wasted no time to capitalize on their chance, as Ovechkin scored his ninth goal of the season and his 762nd career goal at 4:03 to win the game. He blasted a one-timer from his signature spot on the left circle, beating Campbell high on the glove side. The goal moved him past Dave Andreychuk for 14th place on the NHL’s all-time goals list.
The Caps celebrated their dramatic win, as they improved their record to 6-2-0 and moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division. They also extended their home winning streak against the Leafs to nine games.
Ovechkin was named the first star of the game, as he had a goal and two assists. He praised his teammates for their comeback effort and credited Samsonov for his performance.
“We never give up,” Ovechkin said. “We knew we have a chance to come back and we did. Sammy was unbelievable tonight. He made some huge saves for us and gave us a chance to win.”
Samsonov made 31 saves on 34 shots, earning his fourth win of the season. He said he felt confident and comfortable in net and thanked his teammates for their support.
“I think we played well as a team,” Samsonov said. “We blocked a lot of shots and cleared rebounds. I think we deserved this win.”
The Leafs were disappointed with their loss, as they dropped their record to 4-3-1 and remained in third place in the Atlantic Division. They felt they let the game slip away and gave up too many chances to the Caps.
“We had them where we wanted them,” Matthews said. “We just didn’t close it out. We gave them too much time and space and they made us pay.”
Campbell made 29 saves on 33 shots, suffering his first loss of the season. He said he was frustrated with himself for allowing Ovechkin’s goal and wished he could have made one more save.
“I take full responsibility for that,” Campbell said. “I know where he likes to shoot from and I just didn’t get there in time. It’s a tough way to lose.”
The Caps and the Leafs will meet again on November 18 in Toronto, where they will renew their rivalry and try to put on another exciting show.