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Barnburner in Washington; Leafs Prevail in Shootout Written by StajanFan - January 18th, 2010

It was matchup between the top two teams in the East, Washington and Toronto, and it did not disappoint. The game finished with 10 goals, 86 shots, and 8 rounds in the shootout, with the eventual winnier going to Bryan Allen of the Maple Leafs.

Leafs Lee Stempniak, Caps Matt Bradley

Leafs Lee Stempniak, Capitals Matt Bradley

What more interesting, is just how even the game was as a whole. Each team scored 5 regulation goals, each team had 43 shots on net, and in rounds 5 through 7 in the shootout, every player from both teams scored, before Allen scored in round 8 and Ken Klee missed.

"This is the kind of game the CMHL would probably like to have in the Conference and Cup finals," Leafs coach Lindy Ruff said after the game. "Two teams that love to skate and move the puck and have talented players on offense, defense, and in goal. Lots of goals and highlight reel saves make for great games to watch, even as a coach."

Blair Betts scored the opener just 5:29 in to the first, a day after his third line was shelled against Columbus, the entire line was -3 in a 4-3 loss to the Jackets. Today against the Caps, the line of Stempniak, Betts, and Lundmark combined for 2 goals, 4 points, and a very solid +7 in the contest, along with 8 shots on net, and 5 hits.

Capitals top line center Antoine Vermette scored shortly after to tie it up, before Sergei Gonchar's one time shot on a pass from Milan Hejduk beat Adam Munro to take a 2-1 lead into the 2nd period.

In the second period, the Capitals scored two rather quick goals, the first being Owen Nolan' 19th at 4:17, and then fellow veteran Mike Modano scored his 9th and 10:16 of the second, taking a 3-2 lead. Not 4 minutes later was the Leafs third line doing the damage again, this time Lee Stempniak scored his 7th on a passing playing from Lundmark and rookie Alex Goligoski. Then offensive defenceman, Bryan McCabe, scored his 4th of the year, as again the Leafs scored in the last minutes of the period to take the lead into the intermission, this time at 4-3 after 2 periods of play.

The third period was almost a carbon copy of the second. The Capitals scored the first two goals of the period, Setoguchi with his 17th, and Vermette with his second of the game to take a 5-4 lead with only 3:49 left in regulation. But just 33 seconds after Vermette scored, Kevin Klein takes a tripping penalty to put the Leafs talented but underachieving powerplay on the ice to have the chance to tie the game. And by some stroke of luck, the Leafs scored on a powerplay that was meaningful! Slava Kozlov scored on a rebound from rookie Bryan Little's shot from the top of the circle to tie it up and evntually send it into overtime.

 

Nothing was solved in overtime, where the Capitals had 5 shots and the Leafs had 4, but goalies Adam Munro and recently name Eastern Conference Starter, Pascal LecLaire, stood on their heads in a thrilling overtime session. So the game moved to a shootout, a rather mixed fellings way to end such a great game, but it is what it is. The fans love it, and for good reason. Seeing a 1 on 1, player v.s goalie, is great to watch, especially with the young wave of talent coming into the league. The shootout went 8 rounds, but it could have ended in the third round if Tomas Vanek wouldn't have scored to send the shootout into extra rounds. Once round 5 hit, the floodgates were opened. The goalies looked exhausted as the players scored goal after goal after goal for three rounds, to round 7. Bryan Allen scored in round 8, and it was up the old guy, Ken Klee to keep the game alive for the Caps. (Un)fortunately he missed the net by a good 3 feet, allowing the Leafs the win over the league's best team thus far.

"Ya I was a little tired after getting 43 shots put my way in the game, and then going through 8 rounds in the shootout, but I wasn't exhausted. I have played every single minute for the team this year, and I don't feel tired at all. I fully expect to play 82 games this year. We want to get home ice throughout the playoffs, and beating Washington in their barn is the first big step in doing that. We want that President's Trophy also!" LecLaire said emphatically after the game.

 

Leafs Rumors:

 

Tomas Vanek rumors are leaking all over the internet and different media sources. Some sources are confirming there is a deal in place to move the superstar, but other aren't so sure.

People around the team are also hearing about GM StajanFan is preparing for a big deal sometime in the near future. Rumors have some big name prospects like Joe Colborne, Marcus Johansson, Thomas Greiss, Dylan Olsen, Roman Josi, and Marcus Kruger on the move. And even some young prospects on the farm like  Viktor Stalberg, Tyler Bozak, Mike Santorelli, and Bruno Gervais could be on the move to land a big name. These same people around the team are unsure whether this rumored list is being shopped now, or being prepared for the trade deadline.

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