- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 4, 2009

Well, the opening night performance in Boston by the Washington Capitals certainly wasn’t a fluke.

The high-flying Caps feted their 2008-09 division title Saturday night at Verizon Center, then proceeded to steamroll a second straight opponent in a 6-4 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin had three points each to lead the offensive barrage. Nicklas Backstrom added two assists, and Brooks Laich and Brendan Morrison had multi-point efforts.

Semyon Varlamov was great in the first two periods before yielding three goals in the third after his team had a 6-1 advantage. He improved his career (regular-season) record to 5-0-1.

Ovechkin scored on his first shot in a red uniform this season to put Washington in front. He collected a cross-ice pass near the left wall from Nicklas Backstrom and cut across the ice before unleashing a shot past Toronto defenseman Luke Schenn 1:43 into the contest for his third marker in two games.

Mike Knuble collected his first goal with the Caps at 9:12. With Washington on the power play, Chris Clark tipped Ovechkin’s blast from the left point, and then Knuble was able to scoop the rebound past Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala.

Laich tied Ovechkin for the league lead in goals at 15:53 of the opening period. He leaked out of Washington’s zone and corralled a pass from Milan Jurcina behind the Maple Leafs’ defense. Laich deked to his forehand and flicked one past Toskala on the ensuing breakaway to give the Caps three goals on their first seven shots.

Former Caps coach Ron Wilson switched goaltenders after the first intermission, but the onslaught continued with rookie Jonas Gustavsson in net. Alexander Semin tried to jam the puck past the 6-foot-3 netminder earn the left post, but when that didn’t work he roofed a second chance just under the crossbar at 5:27.

Knuble’s former teammate at Michigan. Morrison also scored his first goal with the Caps to make it 5-1. Mike Green lofted a home run pass from the Washington blue line, and Morrison outraced the Maple Leafs defenders to the puck and then backhanded a shot over Gustavsson’s glove.

Semin added his second of the night on a lucky break. He held the puck too long as he careened toward the net, but it hit off defenseman Francois Beauchemin’s skate and trickled into the net at 16:02.


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