Maple Leafs Lose 5-2 to Capitals, Gustafsson Scores Hat Trick

(© imago images) NHL, Eishockey Herren, USA Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals Dec 17, 2022 Washington, District of Columbia, USA Washington Capitals defenseman Erik Gustafsson 56 scores a goal on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov 35 in the first period at Capital One Arena. Washington Capital One Arena District of Columbia USA, Copyright: xGeoffxBurkex

Maple Leafs Lose 5-2 to Capitals, Gustafsson Scores Hat Trick

The Washington Capitals came out on top this Saturday night, defeating the Maple Leafs 5-2 at the Capital One Arena. Capitals’ Defenseman Erik Gustafsson recorded his first career hat trick in the victory. Toronto now holds a record of 19-7-6 on the season and Washington improves to 16-13-4.

The night had an exciting subtext with Alexander Ovechkin looking to score his 801st goal to tie Gordie Howe for second on the NHL career list. Ovechkin wasn’t able to score but did have a couple close calls with two shots on goal.

The unexpected hero of the night for the Capitals was Erik Gustafsson, who was able to beat former Washington goaltender Ilya Samsonov for his first three goals of the season. Samsonov allowed five goals on 28 shots.

Gustafsson is only the third defenseman in Capitals franchise history to notch a hat trick, joining Kevin Hatcher and Sergei Gonchar. 

There wasn’t too much for the Leafs to celebrate on the night, except for goals by William Nylander and Auston Matthews. Mitch Marner went his second game in a row without picking up a point after his record breaking 23 game streak.

This was the Leafs’ second straight loss after dropping one to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. Toronto will be hoping that the trend doesn’t continue after an extremely solid start to the season.

Game Summary

The Capitals opened the scoring in the first period with a goal from Erik Gustafsson (1) at 11:12. Alex Nylander (18) tied the game adding to his tally this season with a goal at 13:12. Austin Matthews (21) and Alexander Kerfoot (11) provided the assist. The Capitals answered via Trevor van Riemsdyk (4) scoring with 14:48 of the first period. 

The Capitals were then able to extend their lead to 3-1 with Gustafsson’s second goal but was matched by Auston Matthews potting his 16th of the season at 16:25 to make it 3-2. 

The third period was all Capitals, as they built on their lead with goals from Garnet Hathaway and Erik Gustafsson to seal the deal.

Up Next For the Maple Leafs

Up next for the Leafs will be the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday the 20th of December at Scotiabank Arena. Tampa Bay comes in with 41 points, only three behind the Leafs who are in second position in the Atlantic Division.

If you’d like to bet on the upcoming Leafs’ games, be sure to check out our list of the best NHL betting sites in Ontario.

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