Saturday's NHL playoffs: Leafs outlast Capitals in 2OT
Washington — When Frederik Andersen narrowly stopped Alex Ovechkin on the best chance the Washington Capitals got in the first overtime, Game 2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs dragged long into the night and into a second extra period.
After more than 90 minutes of hockey, Kasperi Kapanen scored the double overtime winner as the Maple Leafs beat the Capitals, 4-3, Saturday in the longest game of the playoffs so far. The Maple Leafs evened the series heading to Game 3 on Monday night in Toronto and have proven they can hang with Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington.
Kapanen beat Braden Holtby 11:53 into the second overtime on a feed from Brian Boyle after scoring in similar fashion in the second period on a pass from Matt Martin. The son of longtime NHL forward Sami Kapanen didn’t get called up until late March but scored in the Maple Leafs’ playoff clincher and is developing quite the reputation for making big plays.
“I’ve got a lot of energy for sure,” Kapanen said. “Two big goals and I think our team played really well today. We deserved to win and I’m just really happy about the outcome.”
Ovechkin was chased down by Mitch Marner on his breakaway late in the first OT, and Andersen was able to deflect the puck just wide of the post.
“Nobody said it’s gonna be easy series,” Ovechkin said. “It’s OK. Nobody say we’re gonna win 4-0 and move forward. It’s a battle. They’re a good team.”
Though the series is tied, Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik said they probably didn’t deserve to win Game 1, either, surviving a scare when Tom Wilson scored in overtime. They’ve certainly tested Andersen plenty, but the Maple Leafs goaltender stopped 47 of the 50 shots he saw Saturday.
“He was by far our best player tonight,” said Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner, who played a game-high 40:42. “When a goalie gets hot like that, it makes it easier for us.”
Ovechkin, John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom scored in regulation for the Capitals, and Holtby finished with 47 saves. Washington fell behind in each of the first two games and will try to reverse that trend moving forward.
Toronto won’t have rugged defenseman Roman Polak for Game 3 or the rest of the playoffs after his gruesome right leg injury in the second period. Polak’s leg bent the wrong way on landing after a hit from Orpik, and he couldn’t put any weight on it. Coach Mike Babcock confirmed the veteran was done for the season.
Polak’s absence further depleted a blue line that was already without top-pairing defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, forcing Gardiner, Morgan Rielly (40:12), Matt Hunwick (35:19) and Martin Marincin (30:41) to play heavy minutes.
“As far as the minutes go, we’ll be fine,” Rielly said. “We’ve got young legs.”
Even young legs were feeling the strain as the clock ticked away and fans at Verizon Center were warned about the Metro system closing at midnight. Kapanen’s goal beat that deadline to end a wacky game that featured 12 minor penalties, several post-whistle scrums and an overtime slashing penalty on Holtby.
“Obviously it’s tough, but it was fun,” Ovechkin said “It’s a fun moment. That’s why we play 82 games, to be in this moment. I think we are mentally and physically ready. I think we have plenty of chances to score, but we didn’t. One goal and the game is over.”
One goal in each game has separated these teams that were 23 points apart in the regular season. Washington coach Barry Trotz said the talent discrepancy between the first and eighth seeds isn’t that much and that he believed the Maple Leafs belonged in the playoffs well before the series started.
Now everyone else realizes that, too.
“They’re a good, young team,” Holtby said. “There’s no easy rounds.”
More Eastern Conference
(At) Ottawa 4, Boston 3 (OT): Dion Phaneuf scored at 1:59 of overtime and the Senators rallied for a victory over the Bruins.
The Senators rallied from a 3-1 deficit with a two-goal third period to force overtime and tie the series at 1-1.
Clarke MacArthur, Chris Wideman and Derick Brassard also scored for the Senators and Craig Anderson made 26 saves.
Drew Stafford, Tim Schaller and Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask stopped 25 shots.
The Senators started the overtime with the man advantage as the Bruins took a delay of game penalty with 12.5 seconds remaining in regulation.
Trailing 3-1 to start the third, the Senators scored twice in a span of 2:20 to tie the game.
(At) Anaheim 3, Calgary 2: Ryan Getzlaf scored the tiebreaking power-play goal with 4:46 to play on a bizarre deflection off Lance Bouma’s skate, and Anaheim took a 2-0 lead in the series.
Getzlaf’s attempted pass across the high slot banked off Bouma’s foot and somehow arched through the air and past Calgary’s Brian Elliott for the Anaheim captain’s second goal of the series.
Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell scored first-period goals and John Gibson made 35 saves in the Ducks’ 29th consecutive victory over the Flames at Honda Center since April 25, 2006, extending the longest such streak in NHL history.
Mikael Backlund scored a short-handed goal and Sean Monahan had a power-play goal for the Flames.
Nashville 5, (at) Chicago 0: Pekka Rinne made 30 saves in his second straight shutout and picked up two assists, helping the Predators pound the Blackhawks for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Ryan Johansen had a goal and two assists as Nashville added a dominant performance to its taut 1-0 victory in Game 1 on Thursday night.
Ryan Ellis, Harry Zolnierczyk, Colton Sissons and Kevin Fiala each scored their first career playoff goal.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville shuffled his lineup, inserting rookie Vinnie Hinostroza and Dennis Rasmussen and benching veteran Jordin Tootoo and John Hayden. But it was more of the same for the Blackhawks, who once again looked out of sync against the Predators’ active defense.