But it came with an asterisk.
The Leafs got some unexpected offense from the fourth line on Saturday, as rookie Kasperi Kapanen scored the tying goal in the second period and game-winner in overtime. “We know we can be better in the offensive zone”.
Leafs head coach Mike Babcock sensed his group gaining confidence after almost swiping Game 1 at Verizon Center. So they’re not just a cinderella team in regards to the season but one in the entire playoffs. The Capitals scored the first goal of the game for the first time in the series, courtesy of a centering pass from defenseman Nate Schmidt to Nicklas Backstrom at four-on-four. The Capitals again got two shots on goal during that power play and the score stayed 3-1. “It’s not David and Goliath”. They would cash in as Tyler Bozak scored the game-winner just 1:37 into overtime. We showed a lot of resilience tonight.
“Life is way easier when you don’t feel any tightness and everything is going good and you tic-tac-toe”, Babcock said.
Their strategy for defending him is similar to “any other highly skilled, intelligent player” and it starts with that old hockey axiom of eliminating time and space.
A best-of-seven playoff series is all about managing momentum. Kapanen’s goal beat that deadline to end a wacky game that featured 12 minor penalties, several post-whistle scrums and an overtime slashing penalty on Holtby. That’s why Toronto’s win was so important.
The Leafs will have to accept this group will get their chances and goals. At times they have looked like the young team they are, but most of the time they are the Capitals’ equals on the ice.
The game turned when Washington failed to take advantage of a big moment. They know their role with the team. Is Toronto, a team that finished with three fewer points than the second-best team in the Atlantic Division, really an underdog?
Ottawa seemed to be cruising in the second period following Hoffman’s second goal of the night off a power play to make it 3-0.
Dennis Rasmussen and Patrick Kane each scored the first goals this series for the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed. Just before Forsberg buried his second tally of the game, Viktor Arvidsson appeared to bump Crawford’s head while skating in front of the crease. “It doesn’t faze them one bit”. That whole motion led to the Leafs’ power play overtime victor.
Count Capitals centre Evgeny Kuznetsov as a fan of Auston Matthews. Frederik Andersen made 23 saves.
Nikita Zaitsev has recovered from a concussion and will replace Polak in the lineup for Game 3, but his absence may be felt over the long term.
When does doubt – real doubt – start to creep in?
“I think we had three guys beyond the goal line, so that’s not a very good way to defend, especially the last minute of the period”, Orpik said.
Columbus, with good reason, expects him to be a difference-maker for a lot of years. “It does a lot for the belief and attitude in this room”.
Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Kasperi Kapanen (28), of Finland, celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals with defenseman Connor Carrick (8) and center Brian Boyle (24) during the second overtime in Game 2 of an National Hockey League S. Outside the arena, fans piled into Maple Leaf Square to watch the game on the massive screen on the outside of the Air Canada Centre.
“He’s probably so excited to go in there and be the villain and just do his thing”, Capitals winger Brett Connolly said. “Toronto, Leafs Nation, will be cheering”. “You’ll get chills down your spine when you’re on the bench for both teams”. “We had a nice power play to start this overtime and we want to go in with the attitude to get it done, even though the power-play hadn’t been running well (it was about to go 0-for-3 when Bozak scored)”. If (the Leafs are) playing well, they’re happy.
After the game, Capitals Coach Barry Trotz took a seat behind a microphone and rattled off all of the chances his players had in the game that they didn’t convert.