Justin Williams has been there, done that.
He’s earned the reputation of Mr. Game 7, but his point producing prowess in the playoffs goes beyond just the deciding game of a series.
At 35 years of age, he’s now up to 35 goals and 87 points in 128 career post-season games. He added to his goal total Thursday, scoring twice to help the Washington Capitals come back and defeat a spirited Toronto Maple Leafs team 3-2 in overtime.
The Capitals looked nervous in the beginning, missing on passes and falling behind by two goals before the midway point of the opening period, which is to the full credit of the young and talented Maple Leafs. But Williams and the Capitals struck on the power play less than three minutes after Toronto’s second goal and that seemed to calm the home team, which won the Presidents’ Trophy and is a Stanley Cup favorite entering this series.
“He’s been there before,” goalie Braden Holtby said of Williams to reporters.
“That helps. He’s a competitive guy. He knows when the game’s on the line. He doesn’t get rattled by certain things, where as some guys do. You don’t find that quality in a lot of guys. And that’s a big reason why he’s part of our team.”
Understandably, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz wasn’t happy with his team’s performance through the first half of the game. In speaking to reporters, he said the one thing he did notice, even as Washington struggled, was there wasn’t “any panic” on the bench.
“I think he was a pretty calming affect on our group,” said Trotz of Williams. “Even on the bench, he always says the right things.”