Oshie helps Caps draw even with Leafs

Wash­ing­ton wins 5-4, and ties the se­ries 2-2

The Chatham Daily News - - OPINION -


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.

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