Orpik plays overtime hero as Capitals take 2-0 series lead

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When you need a hero in Washington you call… Brooks Orpik?

Indeed. Brooks Orpik, playing in his 151st playoff game, hammered a one-timer into the top corner behind Petr Mrazek 1:48 into the extra frame for his fourth career playoff goal that sends the Washington Capitals to Carolina with a 2-0 series lead on the back of a 4-3 overtime win on NBC on Saturday.

The playoffs are about finding big goals from unlikely places, and Orpik’s marker embodied all of that. He jumped off the bench, found a spot without a defender, and when Evgeny Kuznetsov laid the sauce on his stick, Orpik didn’t disappoint, sending Capital One Arena into a frenzy.

The mathematics suggest that 86 percent of teams who go down 2-0 in a series never recover. Despite a valiant effort from the Hurricanes in Game 2 of their series with the defending Stanley Cup champions. If only they could sort out their starts…

Like Thursday when they went down 3-0 after 20 minutes, the Hurricanes spotted the Capitals with another lead, this time 2-0 inside the first 10 minutes.

[RELATED: Hurricanes’ Ferland handed match penalty for debatable head shot]

The Capitals looked like a grizzled playoff team showing a young pretender that there are levels to this in the first frame. To recite a passage from the Hockey Cliche Handbook, Washington is tough on pucks, don’t give up a lot of space and are hard to play against.

Sometimes simple hockey boredom speech actually paints an accurate picture. A broken clock is right twice a day. Every now and then, those cliches are going to stand up and they certainly did in the first.

Carolina found success when they got pucks in deep and ground the game out down low. Both Lucas Wallmark and Sebastian Aho, the latter who scored his first goal in 16 games, brought the ‘Canes level heading into the third period.

Tom Wilson regained the lead for Washington just before the nine-minute mark, but with five minutes to go, Jordan Staal tipped a point shot back Braden Holtby to send the game to overtime.

The series shifts to Raleigh for Game 3 on Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET on CNBC.

[MORE: Capitals vs Hurricanes preview]

[MORE: NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round 1 schedule, TV info]


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck