Capitals 4, Maple Leafs 6
The Capitals were able to get the lead one more time and Leafs fans were shaking their heads at the end of the first period, "Not again." The Capitals may have won the first period, but they lost the next two periods the Leafs powered their way to a win at home. It's almost fitting that these two teams split their series, a tale of two teams. One packed with experienced and proven winners, another with talented upstarts.
The Capitals work ethic in this game was outstanding, and I loved their never say die attitude. Something that very much comes from coach Glen Hanlon. Alexander Ovechkin scored twice (again), but the Leafs were much too determined and at home. It's hard to win on the road in the NHL, for any team.
The Leafs are a powerhouse club that really needs more solid defense. In terms of goaltending, there is none better than Eddie Belfour (except maybe Olaf Kolzig) and I thought last night he won that game for the Leafs. The two quick goals in the second period by Chad Kilger and Jeff O'Neill gave the Maple Leafs new life, and made sure they were the next to score to take the lead.
The Capitals just needed that one more goal, to make the lead just that much larger, but allowed the Leafs to play their brand of physical play and to defend their home ice.
Overall Grade: A-
The Capitals not only lost the game, but lost a future prospect as well. Just a month into the season, Petr Sykora decided that the NHL wasn't for him. George McPhee agreed for the transfer and the Capitals are dealt another personel blow. Sykora returned to the Czech Republic to play in his former league. Sykora missed the last 3 games due to back spasms. Maybe that will free up more money to land some suitable defense.
The Capitals play a rare afternoon game Friday at home in another home and home series against the New Jersey Devils. The Caps have the potential to win if they continue their hard work and win the one-on-one battles.
Wash Post covers both the game and Sykora's exit.