Orpik’s OT goal pushes Caps past Hurricanes
Washington takes 2-0 series lead
Defenseman Brooks Orpik scored 1:48 into sudden-death overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 4-3 victory over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 of an Eastern Conference first-round series Saturday afternoon.
The Capitals have a 2-0 lead in this series, which shifts to Carolina for the next two games, starting Monday.
Orpik’s game-winner was just his fourth goal in 151 NHL playoff games. His timing was perfect on Saturday as Evgeny Kuznetsov found him from behind the cage coming off the bench, and Orpik got an opening because the Carolina player defending him didn’t have a stick. He then fired a shot past goalie Petr Mrazek (29 saves).
Washington jumped out to an early lead, just like in Game 1, with a pair of first-period goals.
Nicklas Backstrom took a perfect feed from Alex Ovechkin and easily beat Mrazek from the doorstep 3:37 into the game for a 1-0 lead.
The Capitals then made it 2-0 midway through the period when T.J. Oshie raced down the right side, quickly cut into the middle and fired a backhander past Mrazek.
But that goal seemed to awaken Carolina as the Hurricanes put the pressure on for the rest of the period. That resulted in a Lucas Wallmart goal with 4:06 left in the first.
Washington challenged the play as goalie Braden Holtby (25 saves) was hit and spun around, but the goal stood and the Hurricanes had cut the lead in half.
Both teams had several chances in the second period – Washington with a power play of more than four minutes, while the Hurricanes had a two-man advantage for over a minute – but nothing came of either opportunity.
Finally, Sebastian Aho tied the game with 3:11 left in the period, scoring from an odd angle just to Holtby’s right.
Washington took a 3-2 lead when Tom Wilson took an Ovechkin pass and scored 8:55 into the third period. But the Capitals couldn’t hold it as Jordan Staal scored with five minutes left for a game-tying powerplay goal that tied the game at 3 and forced overtime.
Bruins blast Leafs
Brad Marchand had a goal and an assist, and the Boston Bruins defeated the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1, to even the best-of-seven, firstround playoff series at 1-1.
Charlie Coyle, Danton Heinen and Patrice Bergeron also scored for the Bruins.
Nazem Kadri scored for the Maple Leafs in the third period but slightly more than three minutes later was given a game misconduct and a cross-checking penalty.
Tuukka Rask stopped 30 shots in the Boston goal. Frederik Andersen made 37 saves, several spectacular, for the Maple Leafs.
The series shifts to Toronto for Game 3 on Monday.
Predators even series
Craig Smith scored at 5:00 of overtime in Game 2 as the Nashville Predators defeated the visiting Dallas Stars, 2-1, in Nashville.
Rocco Grimaldi also scored for the Predators, who evened the firstround Western Conference playoff series at a game apiece. Game 3 is scheduled for Monday night in Dallas. Goaltender Pekka Rinne made 22 saves.
Jamie Benn scored the lone goal for the Stars, who won 3-2 in Game 1 and were looking to return home with a two-game edge.
Kucherov out for Game 3
Tampa Bay Lightning star forward Nikita Kucherov has been suspended for Sunday’s Game 3 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for boarding Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivaara during Game 2 Friday night.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety made the announcement Saturday afternoon.
Brooks Orpik of the Capitals celebrates his game winning overtime goal with captain Alex Ovechkin Saturday.