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Capitals hold off Leafs to tie series

20 April 2017, 06:07 | Charlene Valdez

As they did in Game 3, the Capitals scored the first two goals of the game early in the first period. The Presidents' Trophy winners head into Game 4 in Toronto down 2-1 in a series that pretty much every neutral observer (and many Leafs partisans) counted as an easy matchup for the Caps. The best-of-seven series is headed back to Washington with all those Capitals doubters much quieter, not to mention the Maple Leafs, who were schooled, maybe not in the same manner the Edmonton Oilers were the other night by the San Jose Sharks, but nonetheless reminded that the Capitals were the best team in the National Hockey League regular season. The eighth-seeded Toronto Maple Leafs have a 2-1 edge over the Stanley Cup favorites, and this has Cap fans anxious that their team won't even get past the first round. The Capitals would pick it up and Lars Eller would carry it in and around the Leafs zone, eventually throwing the puck on net which deflected off of Wilson and in to stretch the lead to 3-1. Tom Wilson provided the secondary scoring that was nonexistent through the first three games.

In the second period, the Leafs cut the Capitals lead by one goal when a shot James van Riemsdyk hit defenceman Dmitry Orlov and made its way past Holtby. The trio had the highest Corsi For % of any three players during Monday's game.

They led 3-1 in the second period when they had a five-on-three advantage. On top of all of that, look for Caps' goaltender, Braden Holtby, to dial his level of play up another level. The Leafs got a bounce and some puck and an odd official's call and a deflection of a linesman and scored a last-minute goal the final score had this hold your breath, anyone can win feel.

The Capitals applied pressure in the Leafs' end from the opening shift of the game and when the horn sounded to end the first period, had tied a franchise record with four goals in one playoff period. Momentum seems to be on the side of the Maple Leafs, so what is there to look for in Game 4?

Not that Frederik Andersen was anything great.

"They're getting some breaks", Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.

That didn't last long into Game 4.

That set up a rush down the right wing by Eller, who circled behind the goal, shot the puck toward the net and Wilson tipped it in at 13:41.

The Capitals knew that coming in, may have lost their way in three overtime games, and then showed themselves to be more dominant Wednesday night. "We're confident in here, so we've just got to stick to it and sit still".

BOSTON - Bobby Ryan scored early in the third period, Craig Anderson stopped 22 shots and the Ottawa Senators beat the Boston Bruins 1-0 on Wednesday night for a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series. "But I think you gain respect for yourself in the process and you start believing that maybe you can do this". I think we manage the game well. "We're losing the series".

Just like they did in game three, the Leafs responded immediately. Schmidt, whose speed makes him a good fit against the Maple Leafs, was again in the lineup for Game 4, as Karl Alzner deals with an undisclosed upper-body injury.

Toronto, led by rookie Auston Matthews, is just 6-4 in its last 10 home games at the Air Canada Centre.

"That's on me, to get him in the ice time", Trotz said. But failing to score with almost two full minutes of a 5-on-3 advantage seemed to boring any comeback chances. "They took it to us".

Minus: It ended up having virtually no effect on the outcome, but Brooks Orpik's ill-advised slashing penalty in the dying seconds of the second period gave the Leafs a two-man advantage that threatened to bring them back within shouting distance.

This wasn't the start Leafs fans were hoping were.

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