After a 4-3 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Caps now find themselves locked in a 1-1 series tie. Here are three key takeaways from Game 2.
The conversation should not be about how quickly the Caps can beat Toronto
Toronto gave up a 1-0 lead, trailed 2-1 on the road against a deafening crowd armed with cowbells, Roman Polak suffered a serious ankle inury…and still the Leafs were able to battle back to tie the game and take the lead in the third period. Coming into this series, it looked like this was a total mismatch. You can no longer say that. Toronto said they learned they could play with the Caps after Game 1. That was even more evident on Saturday. As much as fans may want the Caps to finish this series off quickly, especially with Pittsburgh dominating Columbus the way they are, that can’t be the focus. Washington just needs to focus on winning and not worry about how quickly they can get it done.
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Toronto’s defense suffered another blow
An already suspect defense for Toronto is now down another key piece as Mike Babcock announced after the game Roman Polak will miss the remainder of the season with a lower-body injury. He suffered the injury after a hit from Brooks Orpik in the second period. The Leafs already played Games 1 and 2 without Nikita Zaitsev. Can they survive another significant loss to the blue line?
Braden Holtby is making up for too many mistakes
Despite the loss and giving up four goals, Holtby was phenomenal again and he needed to be. The Caps are asking too much of their netminder with their play in the defensive zone. Washington continues to play sloppy in its own end with bad turnovers and passive play. Holtby nearly bailed them out with 47 saves, but had they played better in their own end, the outcome likely would have been different.
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The St. Louis Blues won a decisive Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks 5-0, pushing the Sharks to the brink of elimination.
The Blues are now one win away from their first Stanley Cup Final since the 1969-70 season, where they lost to the Boston Bruins in a sweep.
St. Louis started the scoring early when Oskar Sundqvist netted his second goal of the series in the first five minutes of the game.
Jaden Schwartz then tallied his first goal of the game off a juicy rebound in front of Martin Jones to start the scoring in the second period. It was Schwartz's 10th goal of the playoffs, which tied him for third all-time in Blues history for goals in the postseason.
Vladimir Tarasenko added to the Blues lead off a penalty shot. He's the first player in Blues franchise history to score a penalty shot goal in the playoffs.
Schwartz then added two more goals in the third period for a hat-trick. The first came on a 5-on-3 power play advantage off a scramble in front of the net, and the second came from a backdoor one-timer pass from Tarasenko.
Schwartz now has 12 goals these playoffs, and it's his second hat-trick of the playoffs.
Blues goalie Jordan Binnington recorded 21 saves for a shutout, and he's the first rookie goalie to accomplish that feat for the Blues.
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The St. Louis Blues' two-goal first period powered them to a win over the San Jose Sharks, and the series is now tied.
The Blues started with a goal 35 seconds into the game. Ivan Barbashev picked off a Brent Burns exit pass and flung it towards the net for the games opening goal.
Barbashev is the second Blues player to score in the first minute of a game these playoffs. Jaden Schwartz is the other player.
Tyler Bozak scored the game-winning goal for the Blues on a power play off a scramble in front of the net.
The Sharks responded when Thomas Hertl poked the puck past the goal line after Jordan Binnington thought he had the puck covered. Hertl now has 10 goals this postseason for the Sharks, and the team now features 10 or more players to score 10+ goals in the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.
Binnington's 29 save performance gave him his 10th win of the playoffs, the most of any Blues goaltender in franchise history.
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