Johansson nets series-winning OT goal, seals matchup with Penguins
By The Associated Press
TORONTO — Marcus Johansson stuffed his second goal of the game past Frederik Andersen at 6:31 of overtime, lifting the Washington Capitals to a series-winning 2-1 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 Sunday night.
Johansson pulled Washington even at 1-1 with less than eight minutes to go in the third period after Auston Matthews broke a scoreless tie with his fourth goal of the series for Toronto. It was the fifth overtime game of the series, and the record-setting 18th in the first round of the playoffs.
Holtby made 37 saves for the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals, who will face the Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second year in a row.
Andersen was sharp with 34 saves.
Toronto had the best chances in an opening period where few existed. William Nylander had the two finest looks, both coming off strong work along the boards and down low by fellow rookie Zach Hyman. The Capitals had their best chance in the final minute of the first when Alex Ovechkin fired a shot that Andersen struggled initially to locate.
Starting his 34th career playoff game, Andersen settled into truly fine form in the second. He stopped Evgeny Kuznetsov in tight moments into the period and then made his sharpest stop, to that point, with less than 10 minutes gone when he stuck a left pad out on Justin Williams’ shot.
Williams, who beat Andersen through the fivehole to win Game 5 in overtime, was all alone in front as he tried to wait out the 27year-old at the tail-end of an odd-man rush.
Jake Gardiner nearly scored for the Maple Leafs a few minutes earlier, but his blast from the point pinged off the crossbar.
The Maple Leafs actually outshot the Capitals, 14-11, in the second (and 38-36 overall), but the scariest chances came from the Capitals by the end of a scoreless 40 minutes.
Toronto went long stretches without testing Holtby until Morgan Rielly dumped a puck into the right corner. Instead of wheeling around the boards, the puck bounced awkwardly into the slot where it was chased down by the 19-year-old Matthews, who roofed a shot into the top right corner for the 1-0 lead.
Johansson tied it about five minutes later, the sequence starting with a pass by Martin Marincin that went astray in the neutral zone.