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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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Capitals vs. Canucks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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USA Today

Capitals vs. Canucks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Washington Capitals (3-2-2) head to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada after an overtime/shootout loss against the Florida Panthers last Friday. 

The Caps are determined to avoid the devastation they felt in the first period when they gave away four goals to the Panthers. They will need to focus in the power plays and avoid penalties at all costs.

Many fans were looking forward to the reunion with former player Jay Beagle, who is now centerman for the Canucks, but he is unfortunately out on injury. However you can look out for Caps Nic Dowd, who will have his own homecoming game against his former team. 

Here is everything you need to know about Capitals vs. Canucks which takes place at 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.
 

CAPITALS vs. CANUCKS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 8 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

When: Monday, October 22 at 10:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals vs. Canucks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs. Canucks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS vs. CANUCKS SCHEDULE

9:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
9:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
10:00 PM: Capitals vs. Canucks
12:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

CAPITALS vs. CANUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Lars Eller, F, Capitals: In his last game, he had a three-point night with three assists. He is a messaive help and shined within the trio of Vrana and Connoly on Friday.

Tim Schaller, F, Canucks: He was struggling in the preseason but came back with a vengeance. He assisted with a penatly kill and is a key component in fourth line. 

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

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What is a back-up goalie’s job during a game?

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USA TODAY

What is a back-up goalie’s job during a game?

At the end of every bench in the NHL is a goalie sitting in full pads and a hat. What is his job during the game?

Friday’s game between the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers was one of the rare games that featured four goalies. Braden Holtby and James Reimer started, but both were ultimately pulled in what was a high-scoring affair. In stepped Pheonix Copley and Michael Hutchinson.

And yet, despite being little more than an afterthought in the team’s preparation for the game, both Copley (one goal allowed on 19 shots, .947 save percentage) and Hutchinson (one goal allowed on 11 shots, .909 save percentage) stepped in and out-performed the starters giving both of their respective teams a chance to win the game.

“It's easier in some aspects,” Holtby said of coming into a game off the bench, something he has done at various points of his career despite being the primary starter for Washington. “I think that's why you see a lot of guys go in and have success right away and have good games because you don't have that day or two days to be getting rid of your thoughts and that kind of thing.”

At the end of every bench in the NHL is a goalie sitting in full pads and a hat. Every team dresses two goalies on the roster for a game. One starts and one sits on the bench as the backup in case he is needed because of injury or because a coach chooses to make a goalie switch. That backup is tasked with being ready at all times to step into the game knowing full well that, if all goes according to plan, he will not get to play at all.

Holtby and Reimer had prepared for Friday’s game knowing they were going to start. Both players took warmups in order to prepare them to play a full game while Copley and Hutchinson had little reason to think they would see any action at all.

By the end of the second period, however, both Holtby and Reimer had been replaced. Copley at least had an intermission to prepare as he came on at the start of the second period while Hutchinson had to step in midway through the second period.

“I guess it can be a little challenging,” Copley said, “But I feel like as long as you’re kind of paying attention to the game and your mind's kind of in that hockey mindset then if something happens, I'll be ready to go.”

Professional athletes are creatures of habit. To have to step into a game unexpectedly with little to no warning or preparation and be expected to perform at the highest level is an incredibly tough mental challenge.

And yet, in many ways, it can be easier than starting.

“The whole thing about mental preparation is so that you go out there not thinking about anything, not worrying about any of that,” Holtby said. “When you're forced in with a matter of 30 seconds, there's no time to think about anything. You just go in and play.”

For goalies, not starting does not mean having the night off. Both coaches and teammates alike can lean upon a backup netminder as an extra set of eyes.

“Sometimes they'll ask a question like did it look like I had room there?” Copley said. “Was it a shot or missed? Did you see what happened on this play? So I just try to be there and watch.”

Some coaches even give goalies assignments in game, though that practice seems to be on the decline.

“I know [Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock] makes them look at faceoffs or something,” Holtby said. “It's pretty archaic. There's guys that do that now that are better than the backup goalie at looking at things.”

In truth, there is no defined in-game requirements for most goalies in the NHL when they sit as backups and that is true of the Caps’ tandem. That makes the job of a backup a very simple one.

“I just try and be ready if I have to go in,” Copley said. “Make sure I'm physically and mentally ready and be a good teammate.”

Holtby put it even more succinctly as he said, “Don't do anything stupid.”