EditorsNote: revises eighth paragraph
Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 40th goal, and the Washington Capitals pulled away from the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 in an outdoor game Saturday night at Navy-Marines Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.
Ovechkin is just two goals shy from reaching 600 for his career.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson each had a goal and two assists for Washington, which has won three of its past four games. Jakub Vrana also ended a 25-game scoreless drought for the Capitals.
Zach Hyman and Nazem Kadri had goals for the Maple Leafs, who have dropped three straight on the current four-game road trip.
The teams had to deal with difficult conditions as a wind storm swept through the area. Neither team was able to go through a morning skate because of the weather. There was also nearly a 15-minute delay midway through the third period because the lights went out.
The Capitals were more poised from the opening faceoff and remain in first place in the Metropolitan Division with the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils close on their heels.
Toronto pulled to within 3-2 when Kadri scored with 12:38 left in the second period. However, the Capitals responded with goals by Carlson and Vrana two minutes apart.
Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen, who entered the game 3-0-1 with a 2.00 goals-against average against the Capitals, was then replaced by Curtis McElhinney, who finished with nine saves. Andersen stopped 20 shots.
From there, the Maple Leafs dominated the third period but could not overcome the deficit.
Braden Holtby got the start in goal for Washington and finished with 27 saves. Holtby snapped a six-game winless streak and bounced back from a tough month of February, when he had a 4.62 goals-against average.
Washington took a 1-0 lead just 3:50 into the opening period on a goal by Kuznetsov. The Maple Leafs answered just two minutes later when Hyman tied the game off a pass from Roman Polak. However, the Capitals retook the lead on Ovechkin’s goal with 13:41 remaining in the first.
Backstrom provided a 3-1 margin with a power-play goal with 3:40 left in the first period.
Each team had won its previous two regular-season outdoor games. The Capitals were able to extend their streak with a dominant performance.
—Field Level Media