Maple Leafs stun Capitals with overtime shocker to pull even in series


Final score: Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Washington Capitals 3

How it happened: Washington got out to a much better start than in Game 1, but the result was similar as James van Riemsdyk scored the only goal of a penalty-filled first period to put the Caps down by 1. Washington responded with power play goals from Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson in the second to take a 2-1 lead, but the plucky Leafs battled right back as Kasperi Kapanen and Morgan Rielly gave Toronto the 3-2 lead heading into the third. After a furious rally by Washington, Nicklas Backstrom finally netted the game-tying goal to force overtime, but Kasperi Kapanen scored the game-winner in double-overtime to tie the series at one.

What it means: The Maple Leafs earned the series split with Saturday’s win, taking away home ice advantage from the Caps as the series heads to Toronto. That sets up an all-important Game 3 on Monday as, per Elias Sports Bureau, 67.6-percent of teams that win Game 3 after splitting Games 1 and 2 go on to win the series.


Maple Leafs goal: James van Riemsdyk from Tyler Bozak and Jake Gardiner at 17:34 in the 1st period. Gardiner held the puck at the blue line, pulled off the gorgeous spin move to get away from Tom Wilson, tried to turn into the slot where he was met by Matt Niskanen who forced the puck loose. Jay Beagle could not corral it and van Riemsdyk swooped in and fired the quick shot for the goal. Caps 0, Maple Leafs 1


Caps goal: Alex Ovechkin (power play) from Marcus Johansson and T.J. Oshie at 3:47 in the 2nd period. Based on the first period, it looked as if the Leafs’ penalty kill strategy was going to be to park a man right on Ovechkin. With the puck in the right corner, however, Zach Hyman left the Great 8 alone in the office. Big mistake. When Oshie finally found some room to work with, he found Ovechkin with the pass and Ovechkin did what he does from the office. Caps 1, Maple Leafs 1

Caps goal: John Carlson (power play) from Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky at 11:06 in the 2nd period. On the power play, Williams fed the puck back to the blue line and the penalty killers gave Carlson too much space. He brought it to the top of the face off circle and fired a slap shot into the net. Caps 2, Maple Leafs 1

Maple Leafs goal: Kasperi Kapanen from Matt Martin and Brian Boyle at 14:25 in the 2nd period. With the puck behind the Caps' net, Martin took the puck and tried to feed it to the front. It bounced off the skate of Daniel Winnik and no one could seem to corral it until Kapanen took it and backhanded a shot through the five-hole of Braden Holtby. Caps 2, Maple Leafs 2

Maple Leafs goal: Morgan Rielly (power play) from Mitch Marner at 19:46 in the 2nd period. Toronto went on the power play with just over 30 seconds remaining, but were allowed to set up in Washington's zone thanks to a lost faceoff by Beagle. The play itself was nothing special as Rielly skated along the blue line and fired a wrister that somehow avoided all traffic and hit the top corner past a screened Holtby. Caps 2, Maple Leafs 3

Caps goal: Nicklas Backstrom from Dmitry Orlov at 12:39 in the 3rd period. In a monster shift in which the Caps would simply not give up possession of the puck, they finally struck as an Orlov shot deflected right to Backstron who had an empty net yawning. Caps 3, Maple Leafs 3

Maple Leafs goal: Kasperi Kapanen from Matt Martin and Brian Boyle at 11:53 in the 2nd overtime. Caps 3, Maple Leafs 4

3 Caps stars  

1. Braden Holtby: Washington's steady Eddie. He almost always has a great game and boy did he come up with some big saves on Saturday including a clutch save on Hyman with three minutes left to go in the third period in a tie game off a bad turnover from Niskanen and multiple incredible overtime saves.

2. Nicklas Backstrom: When the Caps needed a goal, Backstrom was there. He was at the right place at the right time, but that's what Backstrom does. He also was an impressive 57.9-percent on the faceoff.


3. Alex Ovechkin: The Caps' captain did not have much of an impact on Thursday, but he definitely did in Game 2. It's important to make the opposition pay for their mistakes and Ovechkin did in the second when Zach Hyman left Ovechkin alone in the office on the power play. For the game, he registered a game-high nine shots on goal.

Look ahead: The series now heads north of the border to Toronto for Game 3 on Monday and Game 4 on Wednesday. They then return to Washington on Friday for Game 5.

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MORE CAPITALS: Penalties the early story of Caps-Leafs Game 2