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Caps tie series at 2-2 behind Tom Wilson's heroics

Caps tie series at 2-2 behind Tom Wilson's heroics

Final score: Washington Capitals 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 4

How it happened: The Caps jumped out to another strong start with early goals from T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin. Zach Hyman responded 42 seconds after the Caps took a 2-0 lead, however, giving Washington fans a feeling of déjà vu from Game 3. Tom Wilson then made a game, and perhaps series saving play as he swept a trickling puck off the goal line and then sprinted to the offensive zone to deflect in a Lars Eller shot. In just a few seconds, Wilson had prevented the Leafs from tying the game at 2, then gave the Caps a 3-1 lead. He would add his second goal of the game just 2:23 later to give Washington a 4-1 lead. 

And that was just the first period.

Toronto pulled one back with a power play goal from James van Riemsdyk in the second period. The Caps killed off  1:57 of a 2-man advantage to hold on to the lead, but Auston Matthews would strike in the third to pull the Leafs within one. Oshie would score his second of the game to try to sald the game away, but Tyler Bozak would score with less than 30 seconds remaining to make the Caps sweat. Washington, however, would hold on for the win.

What it means: With the win, the Caps earned a 2-2 series split and regained home-ice advantage. The Caps are now just two wins away from winning the series and two of the remaining three games will be in Washington.

Goals

Caps goal: T.J. Oshie from Nicklas Backstrom and Nate Schmidt at 2:58 in the 1st period. A Schmidt shot hit off the boards and took a nice bounce towards the front of the cage where Backstrom was able to tip it to Oshie for the open net. Caps 1, Maple Leafs 0

Caps goal: Alex Ovechkin (power play) from Kevin Shattenkirk at 4:34 in the 1st period. The Caps kicked the puck back to the blue line on the power play where Shattenkirk corralled it and fed Ovechkin for the one-timer from the top of the office. Caps 2, Maple Leafs 0

Maple Leafs goal: Zach Hyman from Jake Gardiner and William Nylander at 5:16 in the 2nd period. A falling Gardiner fired a shot from the blue line that was deflected in by Hyman just 42 seconds after Ovechkin’s goal. Caps 2, Maple Leafs 1

Caps goal: Tom Wilson from Lars Eller and Dmitry Orlov at 13:41 in the 2nd period. A shot from Morgan Rielly trickled past Braden Holtby but Wilson made the diving save with his stick before the puck could cross the line. Wilson then sprinted down the offensive zone trailing Eller. Eller wheeled around the net and fired a shot that Wilson deflected in for the goal. Caps 3, Maple Leafs 1

Caps goal: Tom Wilson from Andre Burakovsky and Brooks Orpik at 16:04 in the 2nd period. A simple pass along the boards from Orpik in the defensive zone trickled through the Leafs to spark a two-on-one with Burakovsky and Wilson. Burakovsky passed it off to Wilson who buried the goal. Caps 4, Maple Leafs 1

Maple Leafs goal: James van Riemsdyk (power play) from Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly at 5:39 in the 2nd period. The Leafs worked the perimeter on the power play and van Riemsdyk called his own number. The shot deflected off the stick of Dmitry Orlov and into the net. Caps 4, Maple Leafs 2

Maple Leafs goal: Auston Matthews from Connor Brown and Matt Hunwick at 12:00 in the 3rd period. Holtby shifted left to save an innocent looking shot, but it deflected and landed at the feet of Matthews on Holtby's right. That left the net wide open for Matthews to score. Caps 4, Maple Leafs 3

Caps goal: T.J. Oshie from Nicklas Backstrom at 12:59 in the 3rd period. Burakovsky took the puck into the offensive zone by himself and was swarmed by Leafs. But no one could corral the bouncing puck and the Caps forecheck took possession with Backstrom feeding Oshie all alone for the five-hole goal. Caps 5, Maple Leafs 3

Maple Leafs goal: Tyler Bozak from Williams Nylander and Mitch Marner at 19:33 in the 3rd period. Washington failed to clear the puck leading to added pressure fromt he Leafs. A shot by Marner deflected to the slot where Nylander tapped it to Bozak who netted the goal. Caps 5, Maple Leafs 4

3 Caps stars

1. Tom Wilson: Wilson had the game of his life in his hometown. Not only did his diving save prevent Toronto from tying the game at 2, he also scored twice. He has been the best player on the ice in both of Washington's wins this series.

2. T.J. Oshie: The top line was great on the forecheck and provided plenty of offense. Oshie himself tallied two goals.

3. Alex Ovechkin:  Ovechkin continued his nearly point-per-game playoff pace with a first period goal to put the Caps up 2-0. He registered five hits, was relentless on the forecheck and was always around the crease looking for deflections and rebounds.

Look ahead: The series heads back to Washington for Game 5 on Friday and then will head back to Toronto for Game 6. Should both teams split those games, Game 7 will be in Washington on Tuesday.

Watch the game? Tell us what you thought!

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

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Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

las_vegas-sign-no_caps-stanley_cup_final.jpg
Twitter/City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

The Washington Capitals official #ALLCAPS hashtag started in 2017 during a Caps-Penguins game after the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account decided to tweet in all lowercase letters during the game. 

Now, as the Caps look to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of Game 1 Monday, Vegas has followed suit by changing their iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to include only lowercase letters, a jab at the Capitals #ALLCAPS.

Additionally, the City's official Twitter account has changed their handle to "the city of las vegas" without any capital letters and the hashtag #nocaps.

It will be interesting to see how the Capitals' official Twitter will respond...

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