Capitals defeat Maple Leafs in OT as Justin Williams provides heroics

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‘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.