Toronto ended up being just what Washington needed to snap their losing streak and their issue with slow starts. The Capitals started fast and kept the heat on the Leafs throughout the game, earning a 4-0 win. Washington is now 29-1-4 on the season when they score first in games, how they start games is huge for them. The win put the Capitals in back in the mix in their division, trailing the third place Penguins by just three points.
Alex Ovechkin was phenomenal, netting his 40th and 41st goals of the season in this game. The first of which came just 33 seconds into the game, taking the pressure of a Washington team that has truly struggled in getting off to fast starts. His two goals moved him into a four way tie atop the league in points (65) with his teammate Niklas Backstrom, John Tavares, and Jake Voracek. It’s the seventh season in his career in which Ovechkin has eclipsed 40 goals.
Braden Hotlby was amazing as well, stopping 32 shots on the night. It was Holtby’s seventh shutout of the season and his 30th win of the year.
There were some changes to the forward lines and it showed as Ovechkin wasn’t the only one that got in on the scoring action, Marcus Johansson and Joel Ward netted goals as well. The biggest change being Rookie Andre Burakovsly joining Backstrom and Ovechkin on the first line.
Washington is on the road at Columbus on Tuesday before returning for a five game home stand. If Washington wishes to climb higher in their division and out of the Wild Card spot, they need to at least go 4-2 in these next six games. They have a huge opportunity to capitalize on a long home stand like that this late in the season.