John Carlson finished with one goal and two assists, and the Washington Capitals turned the game around with three goals in 78 seconds during the second period en route to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.
Carlson now has three goals and 11 assists to rank among the NHL scoring leaders. The defenseman assisted on Washington's first two goals and scored the fourth one as the Capitals won at home for the first time in four tries this season.
Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist for Washington, and Jakub Vrana and Evgeny Kuznetsov also scored.
Toronto got first-period goals from Kasperi Kapanen and Ilya Mikheyev, seemingly taking charge with a 2-0 lead. The Capitals have struggled early in the game during the first part of this season, and this was the second straight contest in which they allowed a goal on the first shot.
Rookie Ilya Samsonov started in goal for Washington and finished with 29 saves. On Monday, he replaced Braden Holtby after the veteran gave up goals on the first three shots of a 6-3 loss to the Avalanche. Samsonov played the rest of the way against Colorado, allowing two goals on 21 shots.
Michael Hutchinson made 28 saves for Toronto.
Kapanen gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead with a short-handed goal 4:37 into the game, and Mikheyev made it 2-0 after a feed from Kapanen at 10:58 of the opening period.
Washington's offense began to awaken late in the first period on a Vrana goal. His hard shot beat Hutchinson with 1:01 left and cut the deficit to 2-1.
Everything changed when the Capitals made their three-goal run in the second period. Kuznetsov started things with a slick backhand shot from the doorstep after a Carlson pass at 5:07.
Washington then took a 3-2 lead when Backstrom scored from the left circle 11 seconds later following a quick pass from T.J. Oshie. The Capitals made it 4-2 when Carlson added a power-play goal at 6:25.
A Washington turnover near its blue line helped John Tavares score and slice the margin to 4-3 with 2:33 left in the third period. The Maple Leafs kept plenty of pressure on the Capitals and Samsonov after pulling their goalie late, but Washington held on.
--Field Level Media