Caps Snap Leafs' Streak

The Toronto Maple Leafs were due for a game like this. So were the Washington Capitals.

Chris Simon scored a fluke goal with 11:52 left after Washington blew a three-goal lead, and the Capitals held on to snap the Maple Leafs' five-game winning streak with a 5-3 victory Friday night.

It was the most goals scored against Toronto this season. The Maple Leafs came in with the best record in the NHL, a league-best 1.63 goals-against average and an unbeaten streak that stretched back to mid-October.

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  • "We've been getting awful nice accolades (on) how good we are," Toronto coach Pat Quinn. "We played like we thought we were pretty good, too. But obviously it's a mirage."

    Jan Bulis scored two goals and Richard Zednik had three assists to give the Capitals a 3-0 lead in the first period. Toronto tied it with a three-goal second period, but Simon put Washington ahead to stay when his shot from the side of the net bounced off the skate of Toronto defenseman Bryan Berard and into the net.

    "I saw (Peter Bondra) going to the back post and tried to get a pass to him," Simon said. "That doesn't happen too often, so I'll take that."

    Simon scored the clincher in more conventional fashion with 1:47 to go, connecting from between the circles after taking a pass from Joe Sacco.

    The five goals represented a veritable offensive explosion for the Capitals, who were averaging 2.36 goals per game. That it came against Torontwas even more surprising.

    "It was a big win for us," said Washington captain Adam Oates. "We came out very strong, had a bit of a lapse in the second period and we showed some character in the third. Simon scored a big goal to get us going."

    The stingy Maple Leafs allowed only three goals during their longest winning streak in six seasons. But the Capitals built a 3-0 lead in the opening 15 minutes and went on to record their sixth straight home win against Toronto since 1994.

    "Well, they certainly have our number in this building," Maple Leafs goalie Glenn Healy said. "Flukes do happen in this game. Certainly, Chris Simon didn't plan to do that."

    Olaf Kolzig had 19 saves for Washington, which has won two straight after a six-game winless streak. The Capitals scored on three of their first 10 shots against Healy, who was making his fourth start of the season.

    Sergei Berezin scored two goals for the Maple Leafs, who were unbeaten in six games since Oct. 16.

    "We played one good period, which is not enough to win," said Mats Sundin, who scored his fifth goal in six games.

    Bulis made it 1-0 with 61 seconds elapsed, scoring from the left circle after Zednik delivered a pass from near the back boards. Bulis scored again at 10:12 with a slap shot from the outside portion of the left circle, and Steve Konowalchuk made it 3-0 at 14:46 by sliding the puck past Healy.

    It was the first time the Maple Leafs trailed by three goals this season.

    Toronto rallied in the second period. Sundin scored on his own rebound in the opening minute and Berezin converted a fine cross-ice pass from Berard at 9:13.

    Berezin then tied it with a sixth goal of the season after taking a centering pass from Yanic Perreault at 18:40.

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