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Capitals vs. Maple Leafs: Tom Wilson the unexpected hero in Game 1 overtime thriller

Capitals vs. Maple Leafs: Tom Wilson the unexpected hero in Game 1 overtime thriller

Final score: Washington Capitals 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 2

How it happened: It was a nightmare start for Washington as a sloppy Caps team gave up two goals in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Toronto took two penalties soon after to give the Caps a two-man advantage and Justin Williams put Washington on the board just as the first penalty expired to salvage something from a horrendous opening frame. Despite the bad start and getting outshot to start the second period 10-3, Williams made it a tie game as he charged in on net and knocked in the loose puck underneath the Frederik Andersen's pads.

The Caps asserted control in the third period, but both teams were held off the scoreboard leading to overtime.

Tom Wilson ended the game in the first overtime with a howitzer of a shot to the shortside.

What it means: Washington takes the 1-0 series lead with the win cementing their control over what already looked like a lopsided series.

Goals

Maple Leafs goal: Mitch Marner from Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk at 1:35 in the 1st period. Toronto broke out of their zone on a three-on-two. Kevin Shattenkirk pinched too far over in pursuit of the puck leaving van Riemsdyk open. Braden Holtby made the initial save, but the put back from van Riemsdyk bounced off the net and into the slot where a diving Marner was able to shoot it in. Caps 0, Maple Leafs 1

Maple Leafs goal: Jake Gardiner at 9:44 in the 1st period. Shattenkirk tried to clear the puck out of the defensive zone along the boards, but it took a bad bounce and stayed in where Gradiner picked it up. He held the puck long enough for Nazem Kadri to set up a screen then fired a shot past Holtby. It was initially waived off by the referee for goalie interference, but after a coach’s challenge by Mike Babcock revealed Kadri did not make contact with Holtby, the call was overturned. Caps 0, Maple Leafs 2

Caps goal: Justin Williams (power play) from Kevin Shattenkirk and T.J. Oshie at 12:24 in the 1st period. Just as a two-man advantage for Washington was expiring, Backstrom fed Shattenkirk from behind the net to the top of the faceoff dot. Shattenkirk broke his stick on the shot attempt sending the puck to Oshie. He fed Williams right on the doorstep and he tipped it in. Caps 1, Maple Leafs 2

Caps goal: Justin Williams from Matt Niskanen and Evgeny Kuznetsov. At 16:00 in the 2nd period. Niskanen fired an innocent-looking shot from the high slot that Andersen saved, but he lost sight of the puck. Williams charged in on Andersen and the goalie instinctively stood, revealing the puck at his pads. Williams dug it under Andersen to tie the game at 2. Caps 2, Maple Leafs 2

Caps goal: Tom Wilson at 5:15 in the first overtime. Caps 3, Maple Leafs 2

3 Caps stars

1. Justin Williams: The Caps looked asleep in the first period, but there was one player who was doing everything he could to wake them up. Williams was great from start to finish and single-handedly brought the Caps back into this game. His first goal salvaged an otherwise horrendous first period and he tied the game in the second. This was the 34th postseason multi-goal game of his career.

2. Tom Wilson: Wilson was the overtime hero with a beautiful shot to defeat his hometown team. This is one game he will never forget.

3. Braden Holtby: It's a good thing Holtby was on his game early or this one could have gotten ugly very quickly. Toronto fired 15 shots on Holtby in the first period and 28 through the first two. He was tested early and often, but was up to the task, keeping the Caps in the game.

Look ahead: Game 2 will take place in Washington on Saturday. Then the series heads to Toronto for Games 3 and 4.

Did you watch the game? Tell us what you think!

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Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

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USA TODAY Sports

Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

The Capitals continued to retool their scuffling blue line on Wednesday, acquiring 26-year-old defenseman Jakub Jerabek from Montreal in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2019.

The move comes a couple of days after GM Brian MacLellan dealt a conditional third-round selection to Chicago for swift skating Michal Kempny.

Both Jerabek and Kempny are left shot, puck-moving defensemen who move well and make crisp outlet passes. Both also hail from the Czech Republic.

RELATED: BRADEN HOLTBY BLAMES HIMSELF FOR TAMPA LOSS

The team sees Jerabek as a No. 5 or 6, I’m told.

On Wednesday, the Caps also officially said goodbye to Taylor Chorney, who was claimed off waivers by Columbus. Chorney will report to the Blue Jackets.

The Caps were off on Wednesday as they made their way Florida for Thursday night’s meeting with the Panthers, so it’s unclear how Coach Barry Trotz intends to deploy his new defensemen.

But it’s probably safe to assume that Kempny will move into a spot within the top four with John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen.

MORE CAPITALS: GET TO KNOW MICHAL KEMPNY

That figures to leave Brooks Orpik and Jerabek on the third pair, while rookies Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey jockey for position as the next man up.

Kempny is expected to make his Caps’ debut on Thursday night.

Is the Caps’ D corps better? Well, that remains to be seen. But it had become clear to MacLellan and Co. in recent weeks that the status quo was not going to cut it. This month, in fact, the team has allowed 39 goals in 10 games. Only the Rangers (40) have allowed more in the same span.

With the trade deadline looming next Monday, the Caps now have roughly $617,000 in cap space, according to www.capfriendly.com, and are at the roster maximum of 23 players. So they would need to make a move in order to add another body.

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NHL Trade Tracker 2018: Latest deadline rumors, deals

NHL Trade Tracker 2018: Latest deadline rumors, deals

The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline is nearly here, marking the final point in the season teams can make major shakeups before preparing for the stretch run and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline takes place a week earlier than in 2017, and teams have until 3:00 p.m. ET on Monday afternoon, February 26 to make their final pre-deadline deals. That being said, the trade deadline is not the end of player movement in 2018, but signifies the end of the open trade window.

But with less than w eek left, the trade rumors are swirling, with teams putting out feelers and reaching out to potential trade partners.

The Capitals started the trade deadline period a week early, with a minor trade on Monday and another on Wednesday.

RELATED: TRACKING THE FAVORITES TO WIN NHL AWARDS

2018 NHL TRADE DEADLINE TRACKER:

February 21: TRADE — The Montreal Canadiens trade D Jakub Jerabek to the Washington Capitals for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. (TRADE ANALYSIS)

February 21: RUMOR — The Columbus Blue Jackets have shown interest in acquiring Artem Anisimov from the Chicago Blackhawks, a team attempting a major rebuild toward the end of the 2017-18 season.

February 20: TRADE — The Toronto Maple Leafs trade C Erif Fehr to the San Jose Sharks for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

February 20: RUMOR — The Ottawa Senators are looking to deal D Erik Karlsson and C Bobby Ryan. The Sens have already begun to enter "tank" mode. Moving Karlsson and/or Ryan would make it all but official.

February 20: TRADE — The New York Rangers trade D Nick Holden to the Boston Bruins for D Rob O'Gara and a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

February 19: TRADE — The Chicago Blackhawks trade D Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. (TRADE ANALYSIS)

February 19: RUMOR — The Anaheim Ducks look to be targeting Vancouver Canucks LW Thomas Vanek, but the Canucks may 'kick tires" on a potential trade if the return isn't right. 

February 19: TRADE — The Detroit Red Wings trade G Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

February 19: RUMOR — The Pittsburgh Penguins are interested in pursuing speedy New York Rangers RW Michael Grabner.

February 17: RUMOR — The Ottawa Senators' fire sale continues to heat up. The St. Louis Blues are reportedly interested in Senators RW Mike Hoffman and C Derick Brassard.

February 15: TRADE — Toronto Maple Leafs trade RW Nikita Soshnikov to the St. Louis Blues for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

February 15: TRADE — The Chicago Blackhawks trade D Ville Pokka to the Ottawa Senators for LW Chris DiDomenico.

February 13: RUMOR — New York Rangers LW Rick Nash is rumored to be a major trade target for virtually every team within playoff reach. The Nashville Predators have been rumored to be the favorites for the former No. 1 overall draft pick.

February 13: TRADE — The Los Angeles Kings trade RW Marian Gaborik and C Nick Shore to the Ottawa Senators for D Dion Phaneuf and C Nate Thompson.