Capitals blow lead, fall to Leafs in shootout

WASHINGTON | A little desperation was the perfect motivation for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Mikhail Grabovski scored the lone shootout goal, and the Maple Leafs rallied from three goals down in the third period to beat the Washington Capitals 5-4 on Monday night.

“We battled back,” Toronto forward Colby Armstrong said. “I don’t think we played our best game, for sure, (but) we came in and stole two points.”

Jonas Gustavsson was perfect in the tiebreaker, making Grabovski’s goal stand up as the winner. Toronto has won two straight, both by shootout.

Grabovski skated in on Michael Neuvirth, pivoted in front of the crease and, with his back to the net, scored with a backhanded shot at the right post.

“It’s two small steps in the right direction,” said Gustavsson, who made 32 saves. “We can’t be happy with this, but it shows a lot of character coming back in games, working hard, no matter what the scoreboard (says).”

Washington carried a 4-1 lead into the third period, but Grabovski, Tim Brent and Clarke MacArthur all had goals to get the Maple Leafs even. Brent and MacArthur scored 59 seconds apart, with MacArthur tying it with 1:24 left in regulation.

“Washington got a little sloppy toward the end,” Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. “I think they thought the game was over.”

Mathieu Perreault had his first career two-goal game for Washington. Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble also scored as the Capitals matched a season high with their third straight loss.

“Losing a game like this is pretty bad for us,” said Ovechkin, who has scored in two straight games after going nine games without a goal. “It’s a lesson.”

MacArthur tallied twice and Grabovski had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs.

Perreault, recalled from Hershey of the AHL so he could get work as a second-line center, had his second multipoint effort in four games with Washington. He was one of the unsuccessful Capitals in the shootout.

“It shows they have confidence in me and can play me in the big situation,” he said.

Washington coach Bruce Boudreau liked Perreault’s energy, but was unhappy following the Capitals‘ collapse.

“It’s not supposed to happen,” Boudreau said.

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