Four Loco: NHL plays 4 OT playoff games in crazy night
06:17, Apr 20, 2017
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The Toronto Maple Leafs are halfway to an unlikely first round win in the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs after an even more unlikely game three win over the President's Trophy-winning Washington Capitals. Less than three minutes into the game, he feeds Backstrom for the opening goal, registering an assist on the play.
There was an understandable elation in the Maple Leafs dressing room after their 4-3 overtime win against the Washington Capitals giving Toronto - and who could have predicted this? - a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Orpik had just eluded Connor Brown only to be crunched by Kadri, who cross-checked Orpik for good measure once the two got back up.
The Maple Leafs were hosting their first playoff game in nearly four years and coming off an exciting double-overtime win in Game 2.
Twice, the Leafs erased two-goal Capitals leads.
Aside from killing the five-on-three, the other turning point for the Leafs was a hard-hitting shift by Kadri's line that picked up on a hard hit by Bozak with a few of its own.
The Capitals overall effort was much stronger in Game 2, but the Leafs' resiliency kept them in it.
Facing the potential of trailing 3-1 in the series, coach Barry Trotz remained positive after the Capitals' second consecutive overtime loss.
Of course, the Preds got the last laugh in this one with a 3-2 overtime win. Then with 40 seconds left in the second period, William Nylander tied the game when Capitals defensemen Brooks Orpik and Kevin Shattenkirk both went to check Zach Hyman behind the net, leaving Nylander alone in front of Holtby.
Less than a minute later, a bench minor was called on the Leafs for having too many men on the ice. But once again, the home team killed the penalty.
John Gibson gave up four goals on 16 shots before he was replaced by Jonathan Bernier in the second period.
A Morgan Rielly shot made its way through Holtby, and as the puck inched toward the goal line, Wilson dived and swept it from harm's way. Toronto's back line has already been compromised with Nikita Zaitsev missing the first two contests of the series due to a suspected concussion, although the rookie may have let the cat out of the bag by posting (and later deleting) the following tweet: "See you soon Toronto".
Babcock will now have control of the matchups on home ice, meaning he can move Matthews away from the unsafe Kuznetsov if he so chooses and also get his pick of which defensive pair the group will see most often.
The team was the first team in National Hockey League history to play six rookies for at least 70 games.
The Leafs held the Caps without a shot for the first 13-plus minutes of a dominant third, but failed to score with a pair of power plays. Well, there's nothing to be anxious about now as Zaitsev is ready to make his return to the Leafs lineup for game three. A late regulation penalty by Washington sunk any chance it had of getting possession to start the extra frame, and Tyler Bozak got the game-winner. It doesn't matter if we'd won this game.
Maple Leafs Square was electric when Bozak scored the game-winner in overtime. In Game 2, they had to play to double overtime, ultimately losing to the Leafs!
Frederik Andersen, after the first two Washington shots found their way in, stood tall on three straight power plays and stretched his right pad to deny Evegeny Kuznetsov, just before Nylander's last minute tying goal in the second period. The hosts also outshot the Capitals 28-26. The Maple Leafs hosted their first home playoff game since May 12, 2013, when they defeated the Boston Bruins 2-1.