TORONTO | Niklas Hagman scored Toronto’s lone goal and sealed the shootout with by beating Semyon Varlamov in a 2-1 victory against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night at Air Canada Centre.
Varlamov made 38 saves in his fourth consecutive strong outing to get Washington to the shootout. The shorthanded Caps were playing for the second consecutive night and clearly were short on energy as the game wore on.
Alex Ovechkin had the lone goal of the opening period. Brooks Laich, playing on the top line with Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, gained the offensive zone with a nifty move and sent the puck to Mike Green in the middle of the ice.
Green and Ovechkin had a mini two-on-one, and the two-time MVP hammered a one-timer past Toronto goaltender Vesa Toskala. It was Ovechkin’s 16th of the season and the 16th of his career against the Maple Leafs.
Hagman evened the score at 16:49 of the second. Toronto had a four-on-three, and a shot went off Caps defenseman Tyler Sloan before Hagman was able to direct it into the net for his ninth of the season.
Varlamov saved Washington during a lackluster middle period. Toronto had 17 shots — 13 in the first half of the period — but the Russian rookie yielded only the fluky goal.
Right wing Andrew Gordon was recalled from Hershey to replace Tom Poti (upper body) on the roster. Sloan moved into Poti’s spot in the lineup after playing both forward and defense Friday night.
Gordon was with the Bears for a game in Binghamton, N.Y., on Friday night. He traveled with the Bears back to Hershey on a bus after the contest, then caught a ride in a car to Philadelphia to fly into Toronto for his second career NHL game.
Without Poti, the number of injured Caps players rose to seven of the 18 skaters on the opening night roster. Alexander Semin, Mike Knuble, Quintin Laing, Milan Jurcina and Boyd Gordon did not make the trip, which continues Monday in Ottawa. Shaone Morrisonn skated Saturday morning, but was held out.
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