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Justin Williams tells Caps 'enough is enough' before putting team on his back

Justin Williams tells Caps 'enough is enough' before putting team on his back

When the Washington Capitals signed Justin Williams in the summer of 2015, it was for moments like this. Down 2-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday on Thursday, with all the memories of previous playoff failures flooding the minds of the despondent fans, Williams single-handedly brought the Caps back with two goals to erase the deficit and breathe new life into Washington.

The Caps battled back from a 2-0 deficit to take Game 1 in overtime.

“He’s been there before,” Braden Holtby said of the veteran Williams after the game. “That helps. He’s a competitive guy. He knows when the game’s on the line. He doesn’t get rattled by certain things where some guys do. You don’t find that quality in a lot of guys and that’s a big reason he’s part of our team.”

RELATED: Caps overcome 2-goal deficit, down Leafs in OT

It took time for the Caps to get their playoff legs underneath them on Thursday, but not Williams. When so many of his teammates looked like they were standing around, Williams scored two goals by keeping his head about him and his legs moving.

On the power play in the first period, a shot attempt from Kevin Shattenkirk ended with a broken stick that sent the puck in an unexpected direction and froze Toronto's penalty killers. But not Williams. He snuck around the defense onto the front door of goalie Frederik Andersen and tipped in a pass from T.J. Oshie to get Washington on the board.

Williams would go on to tie the game at 2 in the second period as he turned an innocent-looking play into a goal just by charging the net.

Andersen saved a shot by Matt Niskanen, but Williams saw the goalie didn’t have full control of the puck and charged. Andersen stood up and the puck fell at his feet for Williams to slide underneath and into the net.

“I saw that he didn't have it,” Williams said. “I saw that he was unaware of where it was. I just went to the net and then, fortunately, it popped there.”

Even with two goals, including the game-tying tally in the second, Williams’ biggest impact may have come off the ice.

“In between periods, Justin just kind of calmed everyone down and said relax, we're not going to win every period,” Holtby said. “That's what leaders do.”

“He's definitely got the room,” Tom Wilson said. “When he talks, you listen. He said some things, he went out there and led the way with his performance.”

What did he say? He just told the team when they were all thinking.

“It's not just me,” Williams said. “Our whole team said enough is enough when it was 2-0.”

Simple words, but the effect was evident.

MORE CAPITALS: Ex-Cap Carrick plays role of pest

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.

Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.