Washington at Toronto

Leafs pepper Capitals for seven goals

CBSSports.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- Joffrey Lupul had to look at the stats to believe it himself.

And even then it still seemed a little surreal.

The Toronto forward found himself tied for third in NHL scoring after putting up a goal and three assists in the Maple Leafs' 7-1 victory over the reeling Washington Capitals on Saturday night.

"I didn't [expect] that in a million years," Lupul said. "I felt good and I was confident and I knew I was going to have a good year. I didn't expect to be at the top of the league in point scoring, but it's a long year and hopefully I can stay there."

He's currently in pursuit of linemate Phil Kessel, who had a goal and an assist to boost his league-leading totals in goals (14) and points (27). Philadelphia's Claude Giroux is second with 26 points, while Lupul and Buffalo's Tomas Vanek are tied with 24.

Lupul has far exceeded expectations since being acquired from Anaheim in a Feb. 9 trade. The 28-year-old sat out almost a full calendar year with back woes before returning to the Ducks' lineup in December 2010. Prospect Jake Gardiner was considered the real prize when Toronto acquired him and Lupul for Francois Beauchemin a couple months later.

"I have a lot of confidence right now because we've been getting some results," Lupul said. "I could tell right from training camp I felt pretty good. I was confident with my game, I was confident with the way my body felt for the first time in a long time. Things went pretty well.

"I didn't expect this type of start, but I did expect myself to play well."

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He was all over the ice against Washington, stealing the puck before setting up Tim Connolly for a goal just 1:39 in and later tipping home one of Toronto's three power-play goals in the second period. Lupol also drew assists on goals by linemates Kessel and Tyler Bozak.

It was exactly the kind of pressure-relieving performance the banged-up Leafs needed. Forced to ice a lineup missing seven players due to injury, contributions came from some unexpected places as well. Maligned goalie Jonas Gustavsson tied a career high with 40 saves, Matt Frattin scored his first NHL goal and Cody Franson chipped in his first as member of the Maple Leafs.

"We didn't really have too much secondary the last four games," Frattin said. "It kind of hurt us because (opponents) were getting leads and we couldn't really come back because we couldn't get one in the net. Today it looked like every line was firing."

Connolly, Bozak and David Steckel had the other goals for the Leafs. Toronto improved to 11-7-2, winning for the first time in its last five games at Air Canada Centre.

Brooks Laich scored for Washington, 1-5-1 in its last seven and 10-7-1 overall.

"It feels like the end of the world but it's not the end of the world," coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was held without a point for the fourth straight game and heard derisive chants of "Ovvvviii! Ovvvviii!" in the third period.

"I think we have lots of skills on this team and all the lines can score goals, as you've seen in the first 10 games I think," Ovechkin said. "Right now nobody can score and it's just frustrating that when we have the opportunity to shoot, we're squeezing the sticks to hard. It's hard.

"It's something you have to fight and work harder."

Toronto chased Capitals starter Tomas Vokoun early in the second period and put a punctuation on the victory with a breakaway goal by Steckel on Michal Neuvirth in the final minute. The long-time Caps player was thrilled after ending an 11-game scoring drought.

"It was huge for me," Steckel said. "I mean I know it was 7-1, (but) it was short-handed, it was against my old team and I was just happy. It felt good."

Notes

  • The crowd sang Happy Birthday to former Toronto goalie Johnny Bower during a stoppage in play. He turned 87 on Nov. 8.
  • With Komisarek out, John-Michael Liles wore an 'A' for Toronto.
  • Capitals defenseman Mike Green sat out with a groin injury. They're 2-7-1 without him this season.
  • Steckel played 291 games with Washington from 2005 to 2011.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Phil Kessel celebrates his league-leading 14th goal. He also tops the NHL with 27 points. (AP)
Phil Kessel celebrates his league-leading 14th goal. He also tops the NHL with 27 points. (AP)

Scoreboard
Washington (10-7-1)1001
Toronto  (11-7-2) «2417
Three Stars
J. Lupul
TOR


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 3
J. Gustavsson
TOR


Saves: 40
Save Pct.: .976
M. Frattin
TOR


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
01:39 - Tim Connolly (2), Wrist Shot. Assist: Lupul
02:30 - Brooks Laich (3), Slap Shot. Assist: Chimera, Carlson
19:16 - Matt Frattin (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Colborne, Franson
2ND PERIOD
01:18Power Play - Tyler Bozak (2), Snap Shot. Assist: Lupul, Phaneuf
05:29 - Phil Kessel (14), Snap Shot. Assist: Bozak, Lupul
17:12Power Play - Joffrey Lupul (10), Tip-In. Assist: Phaneuf, Kessel
19:29Power Play - Cody Franson (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Connolly
3RD PERIOD
19:16Short - David Steckel (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kulemin
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
47.0Crabb, 2 min, Tripping
47.0Semin, 2 min, Diving/Embellishment
08:04Schultz, 2 min, Interference
2ND PERIOD
17.0Hendricks, 2 min, Slashing
08:55Gunnarsson, 2 min, Tripping
14:27Franson, 2 min, Cross-Checking
15:54Backstrom, 2 min, Cross-Checking
15:54Backstrom, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
17:33Erskine, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
3RD PERIOD
46.0Dupuis, 2 min, Interference
14:38Crabb, 2 min, High-Sticking
14:38Schenn, 2 min, Roughing
14:38Chimera, 2 min, Roughing
17:48Rosehill, 2 min, Holding
Shots On Goal
 123T
WAS8151841
TOR1610329
 
Other Games
Phi 4 Final
Wpg 6
Det 4 Final
LA 1
Bos 6 Final
NYI 0
Pho 4 Final
Buf 2
NYR 0 Final
Mon 4
NJ 4 Final
TB 2
Pitt 2 Final
Fla 3
Colu 4 Final
OT
Nash 3
SJ 4 Final
Dal 1
StL 2 Final
Min 3
Chi 2 Final
Edm 9