Reimer digs in as Maple Leafs stop Capitals 2-1 in shootout

Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

TORONTO - Toronto Maple Leafs goalkeeper James Reimer stopped 49 of 50 shots on Saturday.
But he still had something left for the shootout, allowing only one goal in four attempts by the Washington Capitals including a save on left winger Alex Ovechkin.
As a result, the Maple Leafs earned a 2-1 shootout victory to send the Capitals to their third successive loss.
"I don't when the last time I won one in the regular season," Reimer said of the shootout win. "It's something I've been working on. It means a lot."
Left wing Joffrey Lupul scored the decisive goal in the shootout after the first three shooters had gone for each team.
Right wing David Clarkson scored midway through the second period to give the Maple Leafs the lead. Ovechkin scored for the Capitals late in the third period to tie the game.
"He's a good player, you want to be on top of your crease and you want to make him beat you with a great shot," Reimer said of Ovechkin. "I thought I was in good position. I think the puck took a funny bounce when it landed on his stick and it hit the post and went in. It's good shot by a good player."
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 27 of 28 shots before the shootout.
"We played well, we played solid," Holtby said. "But in order for us to capitalize on those shots we have need to get some traffic in front and make those saves hard. It was a little frustrating but it was good to see we had some end zone time. It's going to do a lot for our confidence."
Added Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, "That's what you ask of your players when you get into situations like tonight. We needed the saves and he continued to make them, credit to him."
Both teams were coming into the game with losses at home. The Capitals were coming off a 3-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Friday, their second successive home loss.
The Leafs lost 4-2 on Thursday to the Nashville Predators to snap a five-game winning streak at home. The Leafs have not lost two in a row at home this season.
"We took 50 shots and there's a lot of positives in that," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "Reimer played well."
The Capitals (12-10-2) had a 28-19 advantage in shots on goal after two periods but the Leafs (14-8-1) had the lead.
Then Ovechkin fired home his 20th goal of the season from just above the left faceoff circle after taking a pass from defenseman Mike Green at 15:50 of the third period to end Reimer's bid for his second shutout of the season.
"Reims tonight played phenomenal," Clarkson said. "It was fun to watch, he made some huge saves."
Capitals C Mikhail Grabovski suffered a skate cut to the face that required several stitches in the second period but returned to complete the game.
"He doesn't get enough credit for how tough he is," Holtby said. "He battles through a lot."
The Capitals had the first power play of the game when Leafs left winger Mason Raymond was called for hooking at 1:02 of the second period but managed three ineffective shots.
The Caps also had the second man-advantage situation of the game when Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf was called for roughing at 6:02 of the second. Reimer was forced to make a good save on defenseman John Carlson's shot from the left point during the power play.
The Leafs took advantage of their first power play of the game when Clarkson scored his second goal of the season, deflecting a point shot by defenseman Jake Gardiner at 10:08 of the second.
It came after Capitals right winger Eric Fehr was sent off for interference. Center Nazem Kadri also picked up an assist on the goal that survived a video review to determine that it was not put in with a high stick.
The Capitals outshot the Leafs 11-10 in the first period that had no goals or penalties. Both teams had their chances with possibly the best going to Leafs left winger Nikolai Kulemin who was robbed by Holtby with 3:11 to play in the period.
NOTES: Capitals C Mikhail Grabovski returned to the Air Canada Centre Saturday for the first time since the Maple Leafs bought out the final four years of his contract in the off-season and he signed as a free agent with Washington. ... Leafs C Tyler Bozak (hamstring) missed his 12th consecutive game Saturday but D Mark Fraser (knee) was in the lineup after missing two games. ... Toronto signed RW Connor Brown, their sixth-round draft pick in 2012, to a three-year entry level contract. The 19-year-old leads the Ontario Hockey League in scoring with 19 goals and 27 assists in 23 games for the Erie Otters. ... Caps RW Eric Fehr, who missed the previous nine games as a healthy scratch, returned to the lineup on Saturday, replacing RW Martin Erat, who was left out of the lineup.

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