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Washington
Capitals
42-32-8
Toronto
Maple Leafs
35-37-10

36 SOG
30 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
WSH
TOR
game recap

Capitals 4, Maple Leafs 2

Sunday, 02.26.2012 / 12:30 AM
Three Stars of the Game
Marcus Johansson
1st
Marcus Johansson
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 2
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 15:20
Keith Aucoin
2nd
Keith Aucoin
C
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 2
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 11:09
Alexander Semin
3rd
Alexander Semin
G: 1Shots: 5
A: 0Hits: 2
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 14:48






TORONTO (AP) - Dion Phaneuf had a simple explanation for Toronto's recent struggles: The Maple Leafs have been rattled by all the trade talk.

Alexander Semin and Jeff Halpern scored, and Alex Ovechkin picked up a pair of assists to lead the Washington Capitals to a 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

"It is a tough time of year for guys playing in a big market like this and hearing stuff day in and day out," Phaneuf said. "But it's part of the business and we've all been through it. We're going to come back with the right attitude and we've got to win hockey games. That's the bottom line.

"We haven't been winning them and we have to start."

Marcus Johansson and Keith Aucoin also scored for the Capitals, who carried a 4-0 lead into the final period. Michael Neuvirth had 28 saves for Washington.

"Tonight was a huge win for us," said Capitals defenseman Mike Green. "It puts us back where we want to be and we've got to keep getting better from here. It's been a rough go this year and we've got to make up some ground."

Colby Armstrong and Tim Connolly scored third-period goals as Toronto lost its fourth straight overall and fourth in a row on home ice - earning plenty of boos from the Air Canada Centre crowd.

"The fans, they've been pretty loyal to us, been loyal to me," said James Reimer, who made 32 saves for the Maple Leafs. "They're the ones that pay the money, they're the ones that deserve to have the guys try and play well in front of them - me included."

The Leafs fell flat in their final outing before the trade deadline, even getting pinned in their own zone for a minute-long stretch during the second period. With Monday's trade deadline looming and the Leafs in a 1-7-1 slide, tension is high in Toronto, but Phaneuf said he doesn't think any big changes are needed.

"We believe in this group," he said.

Johansson opened the scoring just 32 seconds in with a wraparound that took Reimer by surprise. Semin made it 2-0 just over 3 minutes later by stripping defenseman Luke Schenn of the puck and beating Reimer through the legs.

Reimer made a few strong saves early in the second period - denying Matt Hendricks and Jason Chimera on odd-man rushes - to keep the Leafs in it. Reimer also turned away a couple chances just before Halpern extended the lead to 3-0 with 8:29 to go in the second.

Aucoin picked up his first goal of the season on a tic-tac-toe passing play with Johansson and Ovechkin with 4:57 to go in the middle session.

Toronto tried to mount an unlikely comeback in the third - Armstrong picked up his first goal in a year and Connolly banked a shot in from behind the net - but Neuvirth buckled down and secured the victory.

"It's not Maple Leaf hockey," said Toronto defenseman John-Michael Liles. "We have to take it upon ourselves in this room. We've got the team to do it here, we've done it for a long time this season. It's a matter of getting back to how we're successful."

Notes: Mike Komisarek and Joey Crabb sat out for Toronto ... Matt Frattin had plenty of jump after being called up from the Toronto of the AHL ... The Caps continue to scratch veterans: 37-year-old defenseman Roman Hamrlik missed a third straight game, while 39-year-old forward Mike Knuble sat out for the fifth time this month ... Ovechkin has 42 points (23-19) in 26 career games against Toronto.
scoring summary
1st Period
00:32
WSH
Marcus Johansson (12) Wrap-around - ASST: Alex Ovechkin (22), Keith Aucoin (1)
1 - 0 WSH
03:46
WSH
Alexander Semin (17) Snap shot - ASST: NONE
2 - 0 WSH
2nd Period
11:31
WSH
Jeff Halpern (4) Snap shot - ASST: Joel Ward (11), Dmitry Orlov (10)
3 - 0 WSH
15:03
WSH
Keith Aucoin (1) Tip-in - ASST: Marcus Johansson (22), Alex Ovechkin (23)
4 - 0 WSH
3rd Period
04:50
TOR
Colby Armstrong (1) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE
4 - 1 WSH
15:03
TOR
Tim Connolly (10) Snap shot - ASST: Matthew Lombardi (7), Nikolai Kulemin (20)
4 - 2 WSH
penalty summary
1st Period
08:52
TOR
Cody Franson  Interference against  Jason Chimera
08:52
WSH
Jason Chimera  Hi-sticking against  Cody Franson
14:30
WSH
Matt Hendricks  Interference on goalkeeper against  James Reimer
2nd Period
12:11
WSH
Mike Green  Hooking against  Mikhail Grabovski
3rd Period
02:01
WSH
Mathieu Perreault  Slashing against  John-Michael Liles
09:57
TOR
Phil Kessel  Tripping against  Troy Brouwer
12:38
WSH
Brooks Laich  Slashing against  Tyler Bozak
goalie stats
Michal Neuvirth
Michal Neuvirth
8-9-3
SA: 30TOI: 59:56
Saves: 28EV: 22 - 24
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .933SH: 1 - 1
James Reimer
SA: 36TOI: 58:14
Saves: 32EV: 31 - 35
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 0
SV%: .889SH: 1 - 1
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