This was a strange game and far from a perfect one from the Capitals, who allowed three goals to Toronto in the third period after giving up just five in that frame through the first 11 games of the season, but they still managed to come away with a 5-4 shootout win against the Maple Leafs.
Boyd Gordon summed things up rather well about this game, which had a positive result but largely left the Capitals focusing on their need for a killer instinct when they're up 3-1, something they've usually demonstrated this season.
"I think we stepped back a little too much," he said. "They came out hard in the third. We were kind of on our heels, looked a little sluggish, but we found a way to get back tied up, to get the win. We've got to do a little bit better job with the leads, but tonight we got away with it."
Here are some other notes, quotes and observations from Wednesday night's game at Verizon Center:
--Right before the blue-collar efforts of Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon and Jason Chimera led to the Capitals' second goal, things didn't look good for Washington. For 30 seconds the Capitals were unable to get the puck out of their zone, regardless of who made the clearing attempt.
Bradley was one of the players scrambling to try to force the puck out when it finally did escape past the blue line. He pushed the play forward and chipped the puck behind the net to Gordon, who made a nice pass to Chimera on the doorstep.
"Any time you spend a long time in [your zone] and you're next up you want to create energy back your way," Chimera said. "You want to take the puck get back in their end and either create some energy, score a goal or get a big hit just to get some of that energy back."
--With chances like the ones Mike Knuble had in the first 30 seconds against Toronto, you can't help but think his dry spell won't last too much longer. It wasn't Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson that stopped either of Knuble's shots on the doorstep but rather defenseman Luke Schenn, who swept the puck off the goal line twice.
"I don't know how many chances Knubs has had in the last four or five games it just doesn't go in for him," Chimera said. "It seems like one bounce away from scoring 20."
--With a goal and an assist, Alexander Semin, who was in front of the Leafs' net more than one might expect, has recorded eight points in the past five games. The Capitals are 4-0-0 when Semin scores a goal.
--Is this the end of the power-play slump? The Capitals have gone 5 for 8 with the man advantage in the past two games after recording just four power-play goals (on 38 chances) in the first 10 games of the season.
"Sometimes we try and play too cute," Alex Ovechkin said when asked about the power play. "When we try and play too cute, it doesn't work. When [Semin] scored the goal -- we shot the puck and got the rebound."
--It wasn't a pretty night for the Caps in the faceoff circle. Only David Steckel won more than half of his draws, successful on 8 of 11. Tomas Fleischmann won 9 of 18, Boyd Gordon 8 of 16 and Nicklas Backstrom won just 4 of 17.
--Michal Neuvirth earned his first shootout win with a 24-save effort and also thwarted Phil Kessel and Nikolai Kulemin in the shootout.