Oshie helps Caps draw even with Leafs
Washington wins 5-4, and ties the series 2-2
TERRY KOSHAN POSTMEDIA NETWORK
TORONTO — So, the Washington Capitals did win the Presidents’ Trophy during the regular season after all.
Observers of the first-round series in the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs between the Caps and Maple Leafs had been starting to wonder.
Facing the prospect of heading home with a single loss separating them from an early start to their summer vacation, the Capitals on Wednesday night initially played like they’d had enough about the questions regarding their desire and past playoff failures.
The Leafs tried to recover, and nearly did, but mistakes and middling goaltending by Frederik Andersen kept them from doing so fully.
The Capitals won 5-4 at the Air Canada Centre, tying the best-ofseven 2-2. The series now boils down to a best-of-three, with the Caps holding home-ice advantage.
Game 5 is Friday night at the Verizon Center in D.C., and Game 6 goes Sunday at the ACC.
The Leafs trailed 4-1 after a first period in which the Caps dominated start to finish, but clawed their way back into striking distance of tying the game.
When Auston Matthews scored 12 minutes into the third period, the Leafs were down a goal and the crowd of 19,838 went bonkers, driven by the idea of a complete comeback. It didn’t happen. Fifty-nine seconds after the Matthews goal, T.J. Oshie scored his second of the game after a Toronto turnover, giving the Leafs rally a quick death.
That stood as the winner, as Tyler Bozak scored with 25.8 seconds remaining with Andersen on the bench in favour of an extra attacker.
The Leafs were handed a wonderful opportunity to close a 4-2 Capitals lead when they had a twoman advantage for nearly two minutes to begin the third period, but despite getting five shots on Holtby during the power play, could not score.
In the second period, the Leafs cut the Capitals lead by one goal when a shot James van Riemsdyk hit defenceman Dmitry Orlov and made its way past Holtby. The goal was scored during a Leafs power play and came at 5:39.
The Capitals applied pressure in the Leafs’ end from the opening shift of the game and when the horn sounded to end the first period, had tied a franchise record with four goals in one playoff period.
Oshie put the visitors up 1-0 at 2:58, easily beating Andersen with neither of the Leafs’ defence pair on the ice — Nikita Zaitsev and Jake Gardiner — anywhere near him.