Caps 5 Leafs 4 (SO) - Gustavsson Gets Us A Point

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 03: Jonas Gustavsson #50 of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes a save against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on November 3 2010 in Washington DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

[Slava Duris' Scoring Chances]

The Leafs opened this game by almost getting scored on. With the puck on the goal line Luke Schenn swatted it at Gustavsson and it bounced off the goaltender forcing Schenn to sweep it off the goal line a second time. Fortunately  Nikolai Kulemin danced around the slot before burying a beauty shot past Michal Neuvirth late in the period to put the Buds up 1-0.

In the second period the wheels fell off the wagon. On the PK, a disaster of late, Mike Green dropped low into the right faceoff circle and buried a puck past Jonas Gustavsson that he had no chance on. Tim Brent probably should have had a stick on it. Four minutes later Jason Chimera slipped in untouched by Grabovski with Lebda way out of position to fire a one timer in to make it 2-1. Fifty three seconds later John Carlson fired a puck that was tipped by Tomas Fleischmann to make it 3-1 Caps.

It looked like this game was over but Jonas Gustavsson did this anyways:

Apologies for the crummy quality, the NHL.tv videos aren't up yet. In case you can't see: with the net wide open Jonas Gustavsson reaches out with the tip of his stick and knocks away a shot by Niklas Backstrom.

In the third period the Leafs got revenge. Tomas Kaberle scored a wrister with Mike Brown screening, Kris Versteeg scored on a breakaway with the ref's hand in the air and Tyler Bozak jammed home a rebound off a Kaberle laser on the power play.

At the end of the third Brett Lebda took a very iffy penalty for a cross check and the Caps turned the game into a shooting gallery. Gustavsson bailed them out, John Mitchell got the puck and then... failed to clear it. Just like that Ovechkin broke his stick taking a shot, the puck hit a leg, a stick laying on the ground and went right to Alex Semin; tie game.

In OT Francois Beauchemin slashed Alex Ovechkin's stick which sent Clarke MacArthurt to the box. NHL.com is full of shit if they're seriously claiming the Caps only had two shots in OT. I'd say the number was closer to ten. Again, Gustavsson bailed the Leafs out. Kessel had a great rush, a great backcheck and another great rush in OT but the game went to a shootout and the rest is history.

Pluses:

- Defense. Mike Komisarek played 26:00 tonight with Dion Phaneuf out of the lineup. Tomas Kaberle made a good defensive play in OT to lay out and block a shot along with a goal and two assists (NHL.com crediting Mike Brown for the goal, I watched it five times on replay here and don't think he touched it). Luke Schenn still looks steady.

- Versteeg and Bozak. Our secondary scoring showed up tonight and we needed it. Versteeg's beauty and Bozak's hard work goal hopefully kickstart their slow starts.

- Gustavsson. Jonas Gustavsson willed the Leafs into a comeback tonight. He made several saves that should have been goals. He was much better tonight than his 26-30 stat line shows.

Minuses:

- Kessel was invisible until OT.

- Our PK seems to be collapsing too deep into the zone and it isn't clearing pucks. John Mitchell's failed clear sticks out tonight but it's happened with increasing regularity lately.

- Our PP went 1/4 tonight but still lacks creativity and doesn't move fast enough.

PPP Three Stars:

1. Alex Semin

2. Jonas Gustavsson

3. Alex Ovechkin

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