April 24, 2017

Wilson scores in OT as Caps survive scare to beat Leafs

14 April 2017, 02:50 | Simon Arnold

Wilson scores in OT as Caps survive scare to beat Leafs

Wilson scores in OT as Caps survive scare to beat Leafs

After allowing the two early goals, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby settled down to stop 35 shots as Washington and Toronto played a scoreless third period. His wrist shot struck T.J, Oshie's stick and beat Holtby, who immediately claimed Nazem Kadri had somehow interfered with him.

Among the five Leafs left from the last Toronto playoff team in 2013, Gardiner picked off a Kevin Shattenkirk clearing attempt, slid into the middle of the ice and then let a shot go that trickled off a Capital before beating Holtby, the reigning Vezina trophy victor.

It was a small pile of mistakes that equaled a 3-2 loss and a 1-0 series lead for the top-seeded Capitals.

The Capitals' goals came on a five-on-three penalty, a sitting-duck rebound and Wilson's near-post snipe from behind the left faceoff circle.

Prediction: Yes, the Maple Leafs have a lot going for them, relative to where the franchise was two years ago that is. For the most part we know we're a good team.

"I thought [Andersen] was really good, and then he'd probably like to have that [winning goal] back", Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said. "You just see how tight checking they are". They had the potential to play division rival Ottawa, but by losing their last home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Leafs didn't secure the necessary point total they needed.

"There is always some nervousness, I think, when you come into games like this". "That was important for us". The Leafs do have some injury questions to defensemen Roman Polak and Nikita Zaitsev, both of whom missed practice Tuesday.

The Leafs have a dynamic offense, led by Calder Trophy favorite Auston Matthews, but an improving defense helped them get to the postseason and will be key going forward.

Baahubali: Here's how Prabhas addresses Sathyaraj aka Katappa in real life
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What's next begins Thursday night in Washington and a Stanley Cup playoff series against the best regular-season team in hockey.

"It's a tough way to start the playoffs, but they came back and took it to us", Gardiner said of Washington's early troubles.

For all things Leafs-Capitals, the Toronto Sun has you covered. "Maybe (teammate Kevin Shattenkirk) or someone was calling for the puck", Wilson said.

The puck drops at 7 p.m. That's what Babcock wanted to get across, even though he didn't tell players in advance to tune their TVs to hockey. The ante is higher. That hero turned out to be an unlikely one. The Capitals finished third in scoring (3.2 gpg) and on the power play (23.1 percent). They now hold a 1-0 series lead over them.

The Toronto Maple Leafs put a scare in the Washington Capitals, but it was the favourites that prevailed in Game 1. The Maple Leafs were calm and poised throughout, and despite being the stark underdog in the matchup, routinely succeeded in applying pressure to the far more experienced Washington club.

Of all the shots for Frederik Andersen to let in, it was shocking that Tom Wilson's soft shot in overtime was the one to take home the series opener for the Capitals.

Showing no fear of the playoff stage or their opponent, the Maple Leafs took the play right to the Capitals in the first few shifts.

"I think what they found out is you can skate with them, you can be physical, their (defencemen) give the puck to you when you're physical just like if they're physical with us", Babcock said. "But I think the problem we had, and obviously I'm a victim of it too, was just not moving your feet and not skating through it".

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