Auston Matthews scored his seventh goal of the season, Joseph Woll made 36 saves and the Toronto Maple Leafs handed the Washington Capitals their fourth loss in five games, 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Alex Ovechkin scored his first goal this season and 823rd of his NHL career, moving 71 back of Wayne Gretzky’s record. Ovechkin, who would have tied a career-long season-opening goal drought if he hadn’t scored, had a game-high 14 shots, including a failed penalty shot.
“Fourteen shots? He shoots a lot,” Woll said. “Obviously he has a great shot. There’s a reason he’s scored so many goals.
“He was a dangerous player tonight, especially in his little kitchen on the power play. I thought we did a good job.”
Woll denied Ovechkin on the penalty shot early in the second period, dropping the Capitals captain to 2-of-13 in his career. His 13 penalty shots are now tied for the most in NHL history with Vinny Lecavalier.
“I tried to make a move, and he saved it,” Ovechkin said.
Ovechkin’s offensive contribution on the power play came too late, well after an early goal was disallowed because the league ruled he interfered with Woll and with the Capitals trailing 4-0. Darcy Kuemper allowed four goals on the first 12 shots he faced and 17 overall.
Washington’s only win so far came in a shootout last week at home against Calgary.
“We’re just frustrated and I think we have so many good chances tonight and we just couldn’t score,” Ovechkin said. “It’s part of the process.”
Matthews’ goal was his first since back-to-back hat tricks to open the season. Morgan Rielly, John Tavares and William Nylander also scored for the Maple Leafs, who won for a fourth time in six games.
“You have to give them a lot of credit,” Carbery said. “They have a good team, and elite players make a few elite plays in given moments. Tavares’ goal, Nylander’s goal, Morgan Rielly’s goal, Auston’s goal — that’s the difference in the game.
Rielly’s goal was the first by a Maple Leafs defenceman this season and the fifth time the Capitals gave up the first goal of the game. Tavares and Nylander extended their respective season-opening point streaks to six and became the third set of Toronto teammates to do that.
“They’re playing that kind of two-man game with one another (with) lots of speed, lots of skill,” Rielly said. “When they’re feeling it and they’re connected, it’s special.”
Woll is the 170th different goaltender Ovechkin has scored against. … Ovechkin’s goal was his 300th on the power play and 3,000th in Capitals history, giving him 10 per cent of their franchise total.
Maple Leafs: Make their fourth stop on a five-game road trip Thursday at the Dallas Stars.
Capitals: Goaltender Hunter Shepard is expected to make his NHL debut Wednesday at the New Jersey Devils.
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