MAPLE LEAFS(2) at CAPITALS(3) – OT
Washington leads series 1-0
I’m sure you’ve all been on pins and needles all day, just like I have. I was so nervous about the game that I could barely eat. The Leafs were obviously going to be in tough against a great team like the Caps and it was important to get off to a good start if they were going to win this game. And get off to a good start they did.
The USA network announcers began the game by talking about what big favorites the Caps were, and how inexperienced the Leafs were and how that would be tough to overcome, but in the middle of them talking about that, I couldn’t hear them anymore because Mitch Marner was slamming home the rebound off of JvR’s shot from behind the net to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead and I was screaming at the top of my lungs! I was all for calling it a moral victory and getting the heck out of there, but things kept getting better as minutes later Jake Gardiner would pick up a loose puck and fire it past Braden Holtby to make it 2-0 Leafs, or so it seemed. The ref apparently was one of the those people who bet on the Caps to sweep, because he waved the goal off, despite the fact that Nazem Kadri clearly didn’t interfere with Holtby. I know Naz is an intimidating guy, as he clearly scared Ovechkin and Backstrom so much that they didn’t even show up for the game, but he definitely wasn’t interfering there, as the replay showed, and the goal was called good. It was at that point that the ref’s bookie must have placed a call, and he made too questionable penalty calls against the Leafs, Brian Boyle for interference, and Zach Hyman for tripping, despite the fact that Hyman made contact with the stick of the Washington player, not the feet. The Leafs were able to kill the five on three portion of the power play, but just as that part was ending, the Caps caught a break, literally. Kevin Shattenkirk loaded up for a slap shot, but his stick broke as he made contact. Freddie Andersen followed the path that the puck would’ve taken, and TJ Oshie quickly zipped a pass to Justin Williams to cut the Leafs lead to 2-1. That’s how the first period would end, as the Leafs controlled the majority of the play and had to be feeling good about themselves heading to the locker room.
The second period wasn’t nearly as eventful as the first, as the Leafs continued to control play for the most part, despite having to kill off a cross checking penalty to Matt Martin, that could best be described as quizzical. Martin probably should’ve been more disciplined than he was, but the call came on the heels of Matt Niskanen getting away with repeatedly cross checking a prone Leo Komarov, directly in front of the refs with no call coming. I gotta say I’m pretty confused at the inconsistency of the officiating in this one. The Leafs would buzz in the Caps zone, with Matt Hunwick coming the closest as he rang one off of the post. Late in the second the Caps would tie the game with a goal that Freddie Andersen would love to have back. He made the initial save, and the puck was under him, but he was unaware of this as he stood up and Justin Williams poked the puck home. It was disappointing to be heading to the third period all tied up after controlling the majority of the play in this one.
The nerves of the Leafs were definitely on display in this frame as the Capitals fired 13 shots at Freddie Andersen, and he stopped them all. His best save of the night had to be the fantastic glove save he made on a Marcus Johansson redirect attempt to keep things tied. Unfortunately, the Leafs weren’t able to generate much offense and the game would go to overtime tied 2-2.
Freddie came out ready to save the game for the Leafs, making a spectacular pad save and then a spectacular save on the rebound as Washington dominated early in overtime. Both teams got away with trips as it looked like we could be in for a long night. That is until Tom Wilson was able to leap up and knock down Martin Marincin’s clearing attempt. Wilson elected to put a shot on net that eluded Andersen, giving the Caps a 3-2 win in Game One of the series. Game Two is Saturday night in Washington as the Leafs will look to even things up going back home to Toronto.
SCORING BY PERIOD
Toronto Goal 1:35 M. Marner (1) assisted by J. van Reimsdyk (1) and T. Bozak (1)
Toronto Goal 9:44 J. Gardiner (1) unassisted
Washington Goal 12:24 J. Williams (1) assisted by T.J. Oshie (1) and K. Shattenkirk (1)
Washington Goal 16:00 J. Williams (2) assisted by M. Niskanen (1) and E. Kuznetsov (1)
Washington Goal 5:15 T. Wilson (1) unassisted
SHOTS BY PERIOD
FREDERIK ANDERSEN – POST GAME