Last night, one of the most insane playoff hockey series I've ever witnessed, got a whole lot insaner. The Capitals had split the first two games at home with the Maple Leafs, not exactly ideal going into the next two games on the road. This made game 3 even more important for the Capitals to win and the urgency was visible early. The Capitals got off to an early 1-0 lead when they got out onto a fastbreak and Nate Schmidt dished a back handed pass to Nicklas Backstrom for the goal right in front of the net. That was about 3 minutes into the game and it looked like Capitals were finally going to take command of this series. This theory was backed up when T.J. Oshie passed to Ovechkin who slapped a one timer into the back of the net like a sniper from distance for a 2-0 lead. Capitals looked dominant, but the Maple Leafs never looked nervous.
The young, inexperienced Maple Leafs were playing physical, putting Caps bodies on the floor left and right, fighting for the puck with even more effort, and it was beginning to pay off. Auston Matthews got the puck right around mid-ice, proceeded to cut up the entire Capitals defense by himself, got his shot stoned, but would get the rebound and finish. 2-1 as the Maple Leafs strike back cutting the daunting 2-0 lead in half before the end of the first period.
Second period the Capitals jumped right back on the offensive. Marcus Johansson took a shot that was stuffed by Frederick Andersen, but on the rebound Evgeny Kuznetsov put it in the back of the net. Capitals led 3-1 with 14 minutes left in the period. From that point on the game was mostly Maple Leafs. I don't know what happened, it seems like the Capitals just let off the gas, and it cost them big time.
Maple Leafs had a break away off a T.J. Oshie miss, it was Mitch Minor on the break away, somehow, someway, Holtby comes flying out of net takes a desperation dive at the puck gets a piece of it and stops the Maple Leafs from an easy goal. Seemed like it was the Caps night, maybe even the Caps year. That was until Nazem Kadri blasted a shot from the blue line that was deflected in by Conor Brown for the goal. 3-2 Capitals still led, but the Maple Leafs were now within striking distance. A few minutes later, there's a battle for the puck behind the Capitals goal, Auston Matthews gets it out, he kicks it to William Nylander, his shot is blocked, however he gets his own rebound burying the second chance in the back of the net. The score is all tied up with 40 seconds to go in the second period. What an exhilarating 40 minutes of playoff hockey with 20 minutes still left to be played.
3rd period wasn't great, not in comparison to the first two. Just great save after great save by both the goalies keeping their teams chances alive. No one would end up scoring and this one would be decided in OT.
OT wasn't even 2 minutes long. Maple Leafs on one of their first possesions of the OT period setup their offense passed around the puck a little, Reiley had the puck up top near the blue line, he passed to Kadri, Kadri passed to Bozak, and Tyler Bozak tipped the puck into the goal for the win. This was on a powerplay due to a high stick at the end of regulation. Penalties will cost ya and they certainly did last night for the Capitals.
Maple Leafs take their first lead in a playoff series since 2004, yeah no wonder the Toronto fans are extra fucking insane, they've been deprived for so long, they need this. I love the Toronto fans, so fucking loud, they pack in and outside the building, just true die-heart fans who are craving for more playoff hockey, and are willing to sacrifice themselves for a Stanley Cup trophy. That's what I call true fandom. As for the Capitals, it looks like it's not their year. Every damn year this happens, the Caps destroy the regular season leaving you with no doubt this is their year, how could it not be they are men amongst boys out there, and then playoff hockey just turns everything around, it's an anomaly, and no one knows how or why, it's just accepted. I feel bad for the Capitals goaltender Holtby, literally played out of his god damn mind, every goal scored on him was deflection or rebound, maybe if the Capitals defenders didn't have their heads up their asses they would've won this game. Oh well, I'm happy with the result, go Leafs go.