Kapanen scores double OT winner as Leafs beat Capitals 4-3

The problem with that is you have to skate, and skate and skate. "You'd be amazed at how much energy you have". Justin Williams scored twice in regulation as Washington showed it could handle the adversity of falling behind.

The game featured feats of endurance by Toronto's defensive corps, which lost Roman Polak for the game and the remainder of the season when he was injured on a Brooks Orpik hit in the second period. Players are getting better training in the summers, more guidance from agents or programs (the U.S. NTDP is particularly good here) and their nutrition is better (just ask a 35-year-old veteran what their first time at a grocery store alone was like, it'll be a fun story).

The injury forced Rielly, Jake Gardiner and Matt Hunwick to play heavy minutes late into the night.

He was a no-brainer call-up when Nikita Soshnikov went down in late March, with Leafs coach Mike Babcock explaining Kapanen would have joined the team earlier if not for missing time due to a serious ankle injury.

"Nobody said it's going to be an easy series", Ovechkin said. "We'll know more - guys are in right now and we'll know more for sure after they've checked in". Their defence got extended pretty hard [Saturday] in a lot of areas.

To conserve its resources, Toronto didn't hold a practice, optional or otherwise, on Sunday. "You've got to get some body contact on him".

"All the credit has to go to (Matt Martin) and (Boyle) there", Kapanen said. "The best play sometimes in the playoffs is to get on net quickly and drive toward the blue paint and let's not get too cute around the net".

The Washington Capitals dominated the National Hockey League this season, scoring the third-most goals per game at 3.18, allowing the least goals-against per game with 2.16, converting the fourth-best power play percentage at 23.1, and killing off the seventh-most penalties with an 83.8 penalty kill percentage. The Capitals finished with 50 shots on goal Saturday, seven on the power play. Nazem Kadri has played over 19 5v5 minutes against Alex Ovechkin, and in those minutes he narrowly has the better of the Great 8 in CF% (53% for Kadri), shots, and scoring chances.

"I think Toronto has really dictated the series", he said. "But the reality of it is, it's going to be a long series no matter who you play, and if you play really well and you get a couple breaks and you execute, and you're playing well as a team, you may take out a team a little earlier", said Trotz, who added he's expecting a "long" series.

The coach then paused and said the really surprising thing is that the Leafs aren't just hanging in against the Presidents' Trophy winners.

As the game stretched past one overtime and deep into a second, the Maple Leafs' fourth line largely watched the drama unfold. They have to do with the Capitals themselves, because they took some silly penalties and failed to score first and couldn't protect a lead when they had it. He scored 18 goals and had 25 assists in 43 games, putting up a point-a-game at age 20 while also focusing on learning how to kill penalties and use his NHL-calibre speed away from the puck. Ovechkin averages roughly a goal every two games in the postseason and is just under a point per game during his playoff career. Then he doubled down on that, with two goals here, in the biggest (and longest) game most of the young Leafs had ever played in.

"I've been in tons of these series where you play lots of overtime", he said. "So they're playing with confidence, they're competitive, they want to win, and they're great people". They've got a good attitude, they like to laugh, and they don't mind a good tightening once in a while to get them back on track. With so much explosive presence up front, it takes some of the onus off the increasingly depleted backend.

There's the rub: the 24/7, 365-day-a-year Toronto media obsession with the Maple Leafs at the expense of the six other Canadian teams and the inherent bias in virtually all the broadcasts, whether we're talking about programs like Hockey Central, in-game commentary or studio analysis.


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