Capitals beat Maple Leafs 5-4, tie series at 2 games apiece

As a young boy William Nylander drew some inspiration from Nicklas Backstrom who's now an opponent with the Washington Capitals

"They're trying to win it too, so it's something that you really just have to try to focus on".

With goalie Henrik Lundqvist in need of fine-tuning his game before the Stanley Cup playoffs, the New York Rangers will carry a positive trend into their rivalry matchup against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. But there they were, wearing perma-smiles after the game - and Caps gear.

"Well I think if you would have told our guys at the start of the series it's 2-2 and we're going into the best-of-three they'd all do a cartwheel, if they knew how", said Babcock. The series is now tied at two.

Mike Babcock watched a young team, much like his own, get spanked by a veteran opponent on Tuesday night and wanted his players to be prepared for a similar situation. Successful goal-tending is important for the playoffs and the Leafs can play harder knowing Andersen is backing them up in the net. They took some positives from a third-period pushback where they hemmed in the Caps and lead 21-8 in even-strength shot attempts.

One minute later, Bozak was penalized for high sticking and Ovechkin rifled his third goal of the playoffs from the left wing at 4:34.

"You see some of those goals, (Toronto goalie Frederick) Andersen's having a tough time fighting through traffic", Capitals forward Tom Wilson said after Game 4. Numerous commentators say he should be traded, though most doubt the Oilers can find a trading partner. They found themselves in various moments that could've caused them to wilt, to find something or someone to blame, but they fought through them this time.

In the East, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Pittsburgh Penguins lead the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0, even with the Jackets in top form for game three, losing in overtime.

They've also had the exact same number of goals (14 each), are close in shots on net, and all but tied in possession. Toronto opened the third period with a 5-on-3 power play and couldn't convert. Putting four goals past Braden Holtby is something most teams struggle to do on their best night, and the Leafs did it on their worst. All three games of that series have gone into overtime with game two being sent into double overtime before ultimately being won by Toronto.

The series continues Friday at 7:00 PM at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Crisis averted? Not necessarily. The Blues were by far the second hottest team in the division behind Chicago, especially ending the season the way they did, which gave them the first-round draw with the Wild. But they still bear all the pressure in this series.

Puck possession stood at 65 per cent in Washington's favour through 40 minutes.

What is usually dubbed a "quiet game" in the regular season - low scoring, fewer shots overall, non-OT - is often the most heart-stopping of games in the playoffs.

By The Numbers - Matt Niskanen led the Caps with 25:38 in ice time ... Backstrom said he wasn't happy with their breakouts in the third when protecting a lead.

For the first time in the series, the game ended in regulation.

"I think we've got our heads on straight right now on how we want to play", Oshie said. "So, got a couple to go there". Someone just be aware of his presence and get a stick in front of his, it's as simple as that. "But tonight was the right step".

Van Riemsdyk brought Toronto within two when he scored early in the second on a power play, but chances otherwise were minimal against Holtby. That would be nearly enough, as it would take the Leafs the better part of the game to claw back. But now the expectation of victory falls back onto the Capitals.

The Capitals are 4-6 in the last 10 contests when they were playing the second of back-to-back games, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. It's just a fact that has to be considered: if Freddie is putting up.815, we're not going to win, and not much else we do will matter. I think our players are understanding what is going to be successful for us and how it's going to be successful.

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