- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2009

TORONTO | The chants of “Cu-Jo” echoed through Air Canada Centre like they had a decade before.

For one night at least, 41-year-old goaltender Curtis Joseph reminded Toronto Maple Leafs fans of his former greatness in a 3-2 shootout victory against the Washington Capitals.

Joseph played less than six minutes but made nine saves, and the roars grew with each stop. In the shootout he stopped Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin shot high and then he turned aside an attempt by Alex Ovechkin to secure the win.

Pavel Kubina gave Toronto a 2-1 lead with 2:09 remaining in regulation with a power-play goal, but the Caps answered with 56.1 left. Brooks Laich jammed in a rebound for his 19th of the season.


Maple Leafs goalie Martin Gerber was incensed because he thought he had the puck covered, and during his protest he shoved linesman Pierre Champoux and was ejected.

Joseph, in his second tour with the Maple Leafs but as a seldom-used reserve, entered the game and promptly robbed Ovechkin on a one-timer with 15 seconds left in regulation and then snared a great opportunity from Mike Green in the first minute of overtime.

After a sluggish opening period, Maple Leafs rookie defenseman Phil Oreskovic put Toronto on the board first. His soft shot from the right point squeezed through Washington goaltender Jose Theodore’s legs at 9:04 of the middle period.

Theodore protested to a nearby official that Mikhail Grabovski had interfered when he brushed past the goaltender just before the puck went by, but to no avail. It was the first NHL goal for Oreskovic, a third-round pick in 2005 with eight games of experience at this level.

For the third time in five games, the Caps did not draw a penalty until at least late in the second period. But rugged Toronto forward Jamal Mayers was whistled for interference with 59.5 seconds left, and Ovechkin leveled the contest before the intermission.

Backstrom carried the puck to the offensive blue line on a rush and sent it to Ovechkin near the right wall. He blew past the Maple Leafs’ defense and broke in alone on Gerber, deking to his backhand to pot his league-leading 51st goal of the season with 20.3 left.

Notes — The Caps recalled goaltender Daren Machesney from Hershey and sent netminder Simeon Varlamov to the Bears. Washington plays only one game in the next week, so sending Varlamov down lets him gain more experience and saves the team a little bit of room under the salary cap.

Defenseman Brian Pothier was a healthy scratch for the second time since returning last week from a concussion. Left wing Donald Brashear missed his seventh straight game with a sprained knee.