‘Mr. Game 7’ has given the Washington Capitals a huge win in Game 5 of their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Justin Williams scored early in overtime, giving the Capitals a 2-1 win that pushes the Maple Leafs — who have not gone away or been afraid or shown like they don’t belong at this stage of their development — to the brink of elimination.
Williams, parked in the slot, beat Frederik Andersen with a shot through the five-hole.
Again, that’s a massive goal for the Capitals. This series has been incredibly entertaining for hockey fans but it has proven to be incredibly difficult for the Presidents’ Trophy winners, with four of the five games going to overtime.
The Capitals had plenty of pressure on them heading into the playoffs, and their post-season history certainly contributes to that. That narrative continued with Toronto taking a series lead after back-to-back wins.
T.J. Oshie opened the scoring in the first period and Auston Matthews answered for Toronto in the second, causing plenty of angst for both fan bases in a series the Capitals were favored to win. They now have that chance, as the series shifts back to Toronto for Game 6 on Sunday.
There was plenty of emotion in this game, too.
Nazem Kadri caught Alex Ovechkin with a low, controversial hit in the first period, sending the Capitals star through the air and to the ice in pain. Ovechkin was unable to put any pressure on his left leg as he went to the locker room, but he did return for the second period.
The feud between Kadri and Ovechkin continued in the second period with some hacks and whacks, causing the Leafs forward to miss a few minutes of the third period.
Sean Kuraly has his first career NHL goal — at a pivotal time for the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins trail the Ottawa Senators 3-1 in their first-round series. Down 2-0 in Game 5 and without David Krejci because of a lower-body injury suffered on a knee-on-knee collision, Boston has battled back to tie the game going into the third period.
Kuraly tied it with less than three minutes left in the second period, off a fortunate bounce as he looked to bring the puck out front. They all count.
More injury trouble for the Boston Bruins, who are facing elimination tonight in Game 5 versus the Ottawa Senators.
The Bruins have announced that David Krejci suffered a lower-body injury — which occurred on a knee-on-knee collision with Chris Wideman — and will not return to this game.
Boston, which has been dealing with numerous injuries on defense, trails 3-1 in the series and had fallen behind 1-0 after the first period of this game.
Alex Ovechkin has gone to the dressing room late in the first period of Game 5 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ovechkin collided with Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri, sending the Capitals star flipping through the air. He landed and was in obvious pain, unable to put any pressure on his left knee as he exited the ice with the assistance of the training staff.
Replays showed Kadri going low and hitting Ovechkin’s left leg.
Kadri was given a minor penalty for tripping. The Capitals took a 1-0 lead, scoring on the ensuing power play.
Updated: Ovechkin has returned for the second period. He immediately threw a hit on Jake Gardiner.
There are two games on the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule tonight.
It’s the young and skilled Toronto Maple Leafs versus the Washington Capitals, a Stanley Cup favorite when the post-season began, in a pivotal Game 5 in Washington, with this first-round series tied 2-2.
In the second game of the evening, it’s the Boston Bruins versus the Ottawa Senators. The Bruins trail the Senators 3-1 in their series and need a win to extend the series back to Boston.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)
Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Network: USA Network (Stream online here)