Capitals double up Maple Leafs
Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Troy Brouwer picked up a pair of goals to lead Washington past Toronto, 4-2, at Verizon Center.
Joel Ward contributed a goal and an assist, with Jason Chimera tallying and Karl Alzner adding two assists for the Capitals, winners of two in a row after dropping five of six.
Jaroslav Halak was solid in net, making 27 saves.
"I've counted on 'Wardo' and 'Chimmer' all year long. They play together on the penalty kill, power play. Big bodies that we count on for a lot of minutes to get territory for us," said Capitals head coach Adam Oates. "It's good to see them get rewarded because you don't get a lot of accolades based on that. You know, doing grunt work."
Dion Phaneuf and Troy Bodie lit the lamp for the Maple Leafs, who lost for the second time in their last six. James Reimer stopped 29 shots in defeat.
Toronto crawled within a goal at 8:05 of the second, after Phaneuf's seeing- eye wrister from the left point managed to elude traffic en route and get past Halak.
The Caps maintained control of the flow at even strength, but gave the Leafs three power-play chances with which to draw even in the middle frame.
Toronto was careless to start the third, as Cody Franson was whistled for shooting the puck over the glass 2 1/2 minutes in, but the visiting penalty killers prevented further damage.
Jake Gardiner's slash with 3:02 remaining passed without incident, but Brouwer hit the empty net inside the final five seconds to ice it for the Capitals.
"We obviously know their strong point. You look at Ovechkin and he has 40 something goals. Every time we played we kind of played them the same way, and tonight they found a way to get by us," Reimer said on his club's plan to neutralize Ovechkin backfiring. "Kudos to them. They made some good plays."
Washington picked up the game's first goal on a power play, as Nicklas Backstrom dished below the goal line for Marcus Johansson, and his pass into the slot was one-timed home by Brouwer at 3:34.
Chimera made it 2-0 on his backhander in close just shy of the seven-minute mark, then Ward hit the 20-goal mark on his slam-dunk from the left side at 8:44 on a following advantage.
Bodie lifted one under the crossbar with 2:45 to go in the first and the Leafs trailed 3-1 at intermission.
Ward reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career ... The 33- year old's previous NHL best was a 17-goal effort with Nashville in 2008-09, with his finest professional season coming with Houston of the AHL (21 goals) in 2007-08 ... The Capitals have won three in a row and five of six at home against the Leafs, extending their run of success in DC to 13-4-1 since the start of the 2005-06 season.
03/16 19:58:56 ET