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Kuznetsov, Carlson spark Capitals comeback win over Maple Leafs

By Alex Butler
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Kuznetsov, Carlson spark Capitals comeback win over Maple Leafs
Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov scores the game-tying goal in the second period of a win against the Toronto Maples Leafs on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Evgeny Kuznetsov and John Carlson led the Washington Capitals to a comeback victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs after trailing 2-0 in the first period.

Kasperi Kapanen and Ilya Mikheyev scored the first two goals of the game before the Capitals scored four unanswered goals, leading to the 4-3 win Wednesday at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

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"I was just getting lucky," Carlson told reporters. "Guys were making some good plays to me and the guys I'm passing to are scoring right now."

Jakub Vrana sparked the rally with a goal at the end of the first period for Washington. The veteran winger skated down the right flank before receiving a quick feed from Carlson during the sequence. Vrana viciously slapped a one-timer over the right shoulder of Maple Leafs goalie Michael Hutchinson.

Kuznetsov tied the score at 2-2 about five minutes into the second period. Kuznetsov collected the puck near the Capitals' blue line before spotting Carl Hagelin on the other side of the ice during the sequence.

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Hagelin passed to Carlson on the left flank before Carlson gave the puck back to Kuznetsov. The Capitals star then raced toward the net before slipping a shot by Hutchinson.

Nicklas Backstrom gave the Capitals a 3-2 lead just 11 seconds later. T.J. Oshie collected a loose puck behind the Maple Leafs' goal before firing a quick pass back to Backstrom during that tally. Backstrom then smacked a shot by Hutchinson, who didn't have a chance to see the puck before it ended up in the net.

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Carlson scored off an Alex Ovechkin assist about a minute later. Ovechkin faked a shot and found Carlson to his left during that score. Carlson ripped a shot past Hutchinson's glove side to light the lamp for a fourth time for the Capitals.

John Tavares scored the final goal of the game for the Maple Leafs with 2:33 remaining, but Toronto could not rally to tie the score down the stretch.

Carlson had a goal and two assists in the win. Kapanen had a score and two assists for Toronto.

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"Tonight I wasn't concerned when we were down 2-0," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. "I thought they converted on a couple chances, but I had a good feeling about our team tonight. There was no panic. We stayed with our game. We built and built, shift after shift and it was a matter of time."

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The Maple Leafs (4-3-1) host the Boston Bruins (5-1-0) at 7 p.m. EDT Saturday at Scotia Bank Arena in Toronto, Ontario. The Capitals (4-2-2) host the New York Rangers (2-1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday in Washington, D.C.

"It's always nice to win," Backstrom said. "We played a lot better tonight. It wasn't the start we wanted, but I felt like we were still OK. It's always nice to get a win, especially at home."

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