Leafs beat Capitals 3-2 for first home win of 2013
Down 2-1 after 40 minutes and his team's power play sputtering against the Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle saw light at the end of the tunnel.
``Our message was there was a whole bunch of positives in the hockey game for us after two periods,'' Carlyle said. ``So we couldn't dwell on what had happened. The only thing was we had to stay strong and persevere. Push ahead. Continue strong on the forecheck. Don't let up.''
The strategy worked as Nikolai Kulemin and Matt Frattin scored third-period goals to give the Leafs their first home win of the
season in a 3-2 comeback victory over the Capitals in NHL play Thursday night.
Kulemin tied it at 2-2 at 7:40 of the third period, poking in a puck that squeezed through Michal Neuvirth's legs from a Michael Kostka shot from the point. As the Caps goalie tried in vain to squeeze his pads, Kulemin reached behind and nudged the puck in for his first of the year.
Frattin made it 3-2, capping off a nice passing play with Nazem Kadri at 9:53 by tapping in the puck for his fourth goal _ and sixth point - in four games.
Toronto (4-3-0) lived dangerously in the final minutes, letting up on the forecheck and allowing Washington (1-5-1) to press.
``I'm sure everybody felt the same way in the building as the coaches did,'' said Carlyle. ``Their stomach was in their throat in a few situations.
``But that's part of the game and we found a way to win the hockey game. The work ethic that they displayed tonight and the
energy that they provided, now they're in trouble because they've done it for two games in a row and the coach is going to expect it every game.''
The Leafs were coming off a 4-3 overtime win in Buffalo on Tuesday. Washington lost 3-2 in Ottawa the same night, giving up a 2-0 lead and conceding the winning goal on the power play with 2:30 remaining.
James van Riemsdyk also scored for Toronto, which outshot Washington 40-22.
(The Canadian Press)