WASHINGTON -- Even on nights when he's not at his best, Washington Capitals left winger Alex Ovechkin can be the difference maker.
Ovechkin scored once in regulation, had an historic goal disallowed late in the third period, and came up with the only shootout score as the Capitals rallied to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2.
Center Nicklas Backstrom tied the score with less than one second left in regulation. After a frantic but scoreless overtime, the first three shootout participants for each team missed before Ovechkin took his time and shot past Toronto goalie James Reimer.
"I look at his whole body of work (tonight) and I wouldn't say I'd give him a gold star," Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said, "But when the game's on the line there's a certain thing that he just wants to take over. Very few people in this league can do it and he has it."
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby then stopped center Nazem Kadri to seal the win.
Backstrom, who added an assist, forced overtime when he scored from the doorstep with eight-tenths of a second left in regulation off a pass through the slot from right winger Justin Williams.
"It bounced off of me and I actually missed the shot, but it went in anyway," Backstrom said. "Lucky, but it felt nice."
Toronto took a 2-1 lead midway through the third when right winger Joffrey Lopul, stationed in the slot, redirected a pass from defenseman Morgan Reilly. Lopul's attempt hit the post, but James Van Riemsdyk banged home the rebound for his fifth goal of the season.
"Obviously it was tough, but at the same time there was still (2:39) left," Backstrom said. "We've got plenty of time. We told each other that we had to keep going and we did. It paid off."
The goal would have given Ovechkin, who scored his eighth of the season in the second period, 484 career goals and put him ahead of Sergei Fedorov (483 career goals) for first place among Russian-born NHL players.
Ironically, Ovechkin's next chance for No. 484 will come Tuesday night in Detroit, where Fedorov spent the majority of his NHL career.
Holtby stopped 23 shots for Washington, which is 10-3-0 for the first time since winning 11 of 14 to begin the 1991-92 season.
Center Daniel Winnik also scored for Toronto and Reilly had two assists. Reimer finished with 30 saves.
"You would like the win," Babcock said. "We were set up pretty good to win that and we didn't get her done, but we got points in three of the four we played this week and that was good."
Toronto (2-8-4), which lost to Detroit in overtime Friday night, is 1-6-3 in its last 10 games.
"I think as a team, we are getting better and that's the most important thing," Reilly said. "We're learning the systems, we are getting used to playing with each other, the power play's improving, the PK is improving. It's just a matter of time."
Ovechkin tied Fedorov -- and the Maple Leafs -- when he scored on a power play at 4:51 of the second period.
Center Evgeny Kuznetsov sent a pass from behind the end line though the slot for Ovechkin. The puck deflected off a Toronto player, but Ovechkin flipped it past Reimer for his first power play goal of the season.
Winnik had given Toronto a 1-0 lead just 2:36in when he fired a wrist shot from the right circle over Holtby's shoulder for his second goal.
Just minutes later, Winnik left the game with a lower-body injury after falling along the boards in the offensive zone.
NOTES: Ovechkin (772 games played) scored his 483rd goal in 476 fewer games than Fedorov (1,248 games). ... Maple Leafs G Jonathan Bernier (lower body) missed his fourth game Saturday. ... Toronto began the night 0-6-2 when trailing after two periods. ... Washington has earned a point in 20 straight games (17-0-3) against Atlantic Division foes. ... Washington RW Andre Burakovsky was part of an all-Swedish second line with C Nicklas Backstrom and LW Marcus Johansson. RW Justin Williams moved down to the third line with C Jay Beagle and LW Jason Chimera. ... D Frank Corrado, C Peter Holland and D Martin Marincin were scratched for Toronto. ... Washington scratches included D Taylor Chorney, C Chandler Stephenson and RW Stanislav Galiev.