The Capitals’ top ranked power play might not have helped its average Friday night with a 0-for-4 showing against Toronto, but one of those opportunities did lead to the game-winning goal.
After struggling to set up on their first three-man advantages of the contest, the Capitals seemed to find the reads and space available against Toronto’s penalty kill to effectively work the puck around the offensive zone. Even as the tripping minor to David Clarkson expired, Washington picked off a clearing attempt and zipped the puck around once more.
Alex Ovechkin, up at the left point, sent the puck to the right circle where Marcus Johansson threaded a pass to Joel Ward in the slot. It might not have been the prettiest of shots as Ward went down on one knee to drive a shot on net, but the puck found its way through Jonathan Bernier to make it 3-2 just seven seconds after the power play had concluded.
“I knew I didn’t get a good crack at it, but I knew I was in a position I was kind of waiting for it and waiting for it and I knew I had some time there, so I was just hoping that Jojo would give me a chance to get a crack at it,” Ward said. “I was a little upset at first because of the way it came off my stick, but I got enough for it to actually go in so it was definitely a good feeling to contribute.”
The goal marked Ward’s 13th of the season and came against his hometown team with his mother, Cecilia, in the stands at Verizon Center.
“It seemed like my mother was pretty eager to make this trip to come on down for some reason,” Ward said with a laugh. “She pretty much follows the Caps and the Leafs, so she wanted to come down.”