CAP­I­TALS AD­VANCE TO SEC­OND ROUND

Cap­i­tals ad­vance on Jo­hans­son’s over­time win­ner

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY NORA PRINCIOTTI

TORONTO | With a chance to pol­ish off the Toronto Maple Leafs and clinch the best-of-seven play­off se­ries, Washington Cap­i­tals Barry Trotz had a mes­sage for his team be­fore the game Sun­day night.

“You get an op­por­tu­nity to push some­one off a cliff, you need to push them off if you can,” Trotz said.

Push­ing Toronto to the precipice hadn’t been easy, and the fi­nal shove was no dif­fer­ent, but in the fifth over­time in six games, Cap­i­tals for­ward Mar­cus Jo­hans­son scored his sec­ond goal of the game and sent Toronto tum­bling down yelling ‘Geron­imo!’

The Cap­i­tals, who were 1-5 in Game 6’s where they led a se­ries 3-2 and 5-15 in po­ten­tial se­ries-win­ners in play­off best-of-seven se­ries en­ter­ing the game, will play the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins in the sec­ond round.

The two teams be­gan over­time tied at one af­ter trad­ing goals in the third pe­riod. Af­ter 7:45 Toronto’s Aus­ton Matthews got a fa­vor­able bounce off the glass on a dump-in and, with the short-range skill he has shown off sev­eral games in a row now, buried the puck at 7:45 in the third.

Five min­utes later Jo­hanssen, a mem­ber of the Evgeny Kuznetsov-cen­tered line that had most of the Cap­i­tals’ best chances, scored the equal­izer as­sisted by Lars Eller and Brooks Or­pik. It was his first goal of this play­offs.

It was the first time all se­ries that no goals had been scored by the be­gin­ning of the third pe­riod.

A tighter, de­fen­sive game would seem to fa­vor the Cap­i­tals, but Washington was the team who seemed lucky to be even af­ter two pe­ri­ods, and even head­ing into over­time.

The Cap­i­tals had been the hot­ter team from the gun in games two and three, the other games played at Air Canada Cen­ter, but the Leafs ful­filled their prom­ise not to let that hap­pen again.

One ma­jor change in the Cap­i­tals’ fa­vor had come in the face­off cir­cle where, though the Leafs had been bet­ter in games one and two, the Cap­i­tals had con­trolled the game in all three games since.

“Well I think just, com­pet­i­tive juices, both teams are try­ing to get the puck and we’ve got some vet­eran guys who are pretty good at it, they do too,” Trotz said Sun­day morn­ing. “I think in the first cou­ple games they did a much bet­ter job, Our guys are good pros. They ad­just to what they’re do­ing and I think we’ve made our ad­just­ments and there­fore we’ve got it back on even keel for us.”

The Leafs ad­justed back. Toronto con­trolled face­offs, win­ning 65 per­cent of pucks in the cir­cle in reg­u­la­tion. Those wins cre­ated chances and forced Cap­i­tals goalie Braden Holtby to make 36 saves in the first 60 min­utes to keep his team in the game.

Toronto’s Fred­erik An­der­sen was ex­cel­lent as well in a 34-save per­for­mance, but the most stun­ning was in the third pe­riod when he stopped Oshie one-on-one us­ing his glove. An­der­sen was ev­ery bit Vez­ina fi­nal­ist Holtby’s equal.

These Leafs proved them­selves through this tight­est of se­ries, where the Cap­i­tals outscored their op­po­nents by just two goals over­all. Pitts­burgh, a team with lit­tle left to prove, pre­sents a steeper chal­lenge. The first op­po­nent may have been knocked into the abyss, but Washington is still on the climb.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Washington Cap­i­tals’ Mar­cus Jo­hans­son cel­e­brates with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Wil­liams af­ter scor­ing in over­time of a 2-1 Game 6 se­ries-clinch­ing vic­tory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sun­day.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Washington cen­ter Mar­cus Jo­hans­son’s over­time goal was his sec­ond score of the game and helped the Cap­i­tals ad­vance to the sec­ond round of the Stan­ley Cup play­offs with a 2-1 vic­tory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sun­day. Jo­hans­son also net­ted the game-ty­ing goal late in the third pe­riod.

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