WASHINGTON — Matt Niskanen and the NHL's top power-play unit cashed in yet again as the Capitals outlasted the youthful and overmatched Maple Leafs 3-2 Wednesday
Washington reached 98 points for the season and matched the 1995-96 Red Wings for the most victories through 63 games with 47. Toronto remained in last place in the league with 52 points.
Niskanen's winner came after the Capitals relinquished a 2-0 lead built on goals by Taylor Chorney and Alex Ovechkin. Nikita Soshnikov scored his first NHL goal, and Colin Greening scored his second of the season for the Maple Leafs.
Capitals backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped 27 of 29 shots. Toronto's Jonathan Bernier stopped 20 of 23.
Back at Verizon Center three days after he was traded by the Capitals to the Maple Leafs, Brooks Laich received a video tribute aired to a roaring ovation. He applauded the crowd he played in front of for 12 years.
Game highlights: Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist on power plays in the second period and Artemi Panarin scored twice, helping the Blackhawks rout the host Red Wings 5-2. Kane finished with three points, extending his NHL-leading total to 88 to match his career high, set during the 2009-10 season. His 88 points (in 65 games) also are one more than the Stars' Jamie Benn had last season in winning the league scoring title.
First Period—1, Washington, Chorney 1 (Oshie, Kuznetsov), 18:15. 2, Washington, Ovechkin 41 (Backstrom, Oshie), 18:43. Penalties—Orpik, Was (delay of game), 3:18; Beagle, Was (delay of game), 12:12; Oshie, Was (cross-check), 15:09; Corrado, Tor (trip), 18:57.
Second Period—3, Toronto, Soshnikov 1 (Kadri, Hunwick), 1:37. Penalties—Chimera, Was (hooking), 1:44; Soshnikov, Tor, served by Nylander (interference, roughing), 3:45; Niskanen, Was (roughing), 3:45; Kadri, Tor (cross-checking), 20:00.
Third Period—4, Toronto, Greening 2 (Holland, C.Carrick), 8:16. 5, Washington, Niskanen 4 (Backstrom, Oshie), 9:31 (pp). Penalties—Soshnikov, Tor (boarding), 9:20. Shots on Goal—Toronto 8-14-7—29. Washington 6-6-11—23. Power-play opportunities—Toronto 0 of 4; Washington 1 of 4. Goalies—Toronto, Bernier 7-17-3 (23 shots-20 saves). Washington, Grubauer 7-5-1 (29-27).
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First Period—1, Chicago, Seabrook 13 (Gustafsson, Teravainen), 2:23. Penalties—None.
Second Period—2, Chicago, Panarin 23 (Kane, Seabrook), 14:34 (pp). 3, Chicago, Kane 37 (Seabrook, Keith), 16:00 (pp). Penalties—Shaw, Chi (hooking), 3:52; Larkin, Det (hooking), 4:42; Desjardins, Chi, served by Rasmussen, double minor (roughing), 9:59; Ericsson, Det (roughing), 9:59; Zetterberg, Det (tripping), 13:22; Kronwall, Det (hooking), 14:09.
Third Period—4, Detroit, Richards 8 (Green, Tatar), 9:49 (pp). 5, Chicago, Ladd 18 (Keith, Toews), 14:03. 6, Chicago, Panarin 24 (Kane), 14:38. 7, Detroit, Nyquist 16 (Ericsson, Sheahan), 17:51. Penalties—Hjalmarsson, Chi (delay of game), :21; Kane, Chi (slashing), 9:37. Shots on Goal—Chicago 9-13-11—33. Detroit 8-16-9—33. Power-play opportunities—Chicago 2 of 3; Detroit 1 of 4. Goalies—Chicago, Crawford 34-16-3 (33 shots-31 saves). Detroit, Mrazek 24-12-6 (33-28).