Joseph Woll steals the show in Washington as Maple Leafs pick up 4-1 win over Capitals
Photo credit:Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
By Joseph Zita1 month ago
Yesterday was the first night of the NHL’s newly introduced Frozen Frenzy.
Toronto and Washington were first on the schedule with a scheduled puck drop just after 6:00 pm ET, followed by the other 15 games staggered after them. However, it wasn’t just the debut of Frozen Frenzy. There were multiple storylines heading into this game between these two teams. Rasmus Sandin and Spencer Carbery, former Maple Leafs, were set to play/coach against their former club and the Ryan Reaves and Tom Wilson rivalry that dates back years.
It was a hectic start to the game last night for the Maple Leafs as David Kampf took an early penalty to put the Capitals on the power play. A power play that hasn’t scored this season, featuring Alex Ovechkin, who also hasn’t scored this season, combined with the fact that the team has never led this season at any point. Do you see where I’m going with this?
I thought it was almost a given that Washington was going to get on the board first with their early power play attempt. They did, but it got challenged for goalie interference and was taken off the board. Toronto, however, was given a power-play of their own, and although they didn’t score on the first one they got, they scored on the second one they got as Morgan Rielly put home his first of the season as Darcy Kuemper couldn’t squeeze his arm to his body and stop it.
Similar to the first period, it was a hectic start for Toronto. Washington was still on an abbreviated power play from the previous period, but Toronto killed it. After failing to score on the man advantage, Alex Ovechkin – who had been firing the puck at Joseph Woll all night – was awarded a penalty shot after a hook from Mark Giordano was called. However, Joseph Woll got the best of Ovechkin and denied him on the breakaway.
It was time for Toronto to start looking like a dangerous team this period after managing just five shots on net, and that’s what they did. In quick succession, two of Toronto’s best players this season scored the team’s second and third goals of the night to go up 3-0.
First was a John Tavares tip from a Morgan Rielly shot that beat Kuemper, and then Nylander followed it up with a nifty goal placed above Kuemper’s shoulder to go ahead 3-0.
Up 3-0, Toronto didn’t stop there. Tom Wilson was sent to the penalty box for an unsportsmanlike minor, and Toronto returned to the power play. Just under a minute into the man advantage, Mitch Marner found Auston Matthews, who was all alone, and he one-timed his seventh of the season past Kuemper.
With less than two minutes in the second period, TJ Brodie was whistled for a penalty, and Washington, who generated most of their chances on the power play, were headed back on the man advantage. With seconds remaining in the frame, a wide open, and I mean wide open, Alex Ovechkin tapped home his first of the season with all four Toronto penalty-killers on the wrong side of the ice.
Although Toronto was headed to the third period with a 4-1 lead, they hadn’t looked the best tonight. But, they capitalized on their chances, and Joseph Woll stood on his head through the first two periods. We weren’t treated to any goals in the third, but we did get to watch an unbelievable game from Woll get even better. From the start of the game, he was locked in and played probably the best game of his early career. If four Leaf penalty-killers weren’t on the wrong side of the ice, Ovechkin probably wouldn’t score on their power play, and he would’ve had a shutout.
Toronto would only manage three shots in the final period, limiting Washington to only eight compared to the 17 they had in the first and 12 in the second. But as I mentioned above, Woll was spectacular and stole the show for Toronto tonight to help lead them to their second win on this road trip and fourth win of the season.
Who stood out:
I’ve already talked about how great he was last night, so I won’t get too deep into it. However, a 36-save performance from the 25-year-old in his second start of the season after coming in relief for Samsonov the previous game and turning aside all 29 shots he faced is fantastic work. Toronto didn’t look all that impressive last night but still managed to score four goals, which is good to see given how they scored just two goals against Chicago and Florida but looked like the better team. Hockey is just weird that way.
Anyways, Nylander and Tavares continued their hot start to the season, extending their point streak to six games with goals, and Auston Matthews finally found the back of the net after going three games without a goal following six goals in his first two games to begin the season.
You can catch the Toronto Maple Leafs’ next game on TSN4 Thursday night against the Dallas Stars. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT.
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