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The Maple Leafs were prepared to skate off of Verizon Center ice with two points in regulation but a last second goal from Nicklas Backstrom sent the crowd into hysterics and the game into overtime. After an exciting and hectic five minutes the game advanced to a shootout where Alex Ovechkin would win it on his record-tying night.
Check back for our full recap later, but first, here's Saturday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Ovechkin is, as we know, absolutely incredible. In his eleventh season Alex has now tied Sergei Fedorov, an eighteen year NHL veteran, for most goals scored by a Russian player in league history with his 483rd goal in the second period tonight.
- Minus: With two minutes left to play in the final frame and trailing by one Ovechkin put a backhanded shot up and over James Reimer for his record setting 484th goal. However, thanks to Mike Babcock's challenge and the NHL, the goal call was overturned due to contact between Justin Williams and Reimer. The wrong call, once again.
Ten more notes on the game:
- Daniel Winnik took advantage of a Dmitry Orlov bobble at the offensive blue line to come down the right wing and rifle a wrist shot over Braden Holtby's left shoulder to put the Maple Leafs ahead by one.
- Washington outshot their guests in the opening period 11 to 10 but the Maple Leafs had the Capitals' defense and Holtby active. Despite having played last night against Detroit, Toronto came ready to play tonight.
- On Washington's second power play chance of the game Ovechkin crashed the net and converted an Evgeny Kuznetsov feed for his 8th goal of the year. The goal was also the 483rd of his career, tying him with Sergei Federov for most goals scored by a Russian player in NHL history. Congrats, Alex!
- James Van Riemsdyk broke the tie almost fifty minutes into the gamed with Tom Wilson in the penalty box with an extra minor. JVR took a Joffrey Lupul rebound and fired a sharp angle shot past Holtby to give the Maple Leafs the lead.
- It looked like Ovechkin broke Fedorov's record, and tied the game, late in the third period but referees Kelly Sutherland and Brad Meier overturned their original call after Mike Babcock's coach's challenge. It was ruled that Justin Williams interfered with Reimer, and Washington had a steep hill to climb.
- Backstrom would tie the game with less than a second left and send it to overtime after recovering the puck from a faceoff loss. A pair of passes from T.J. Oshie and Williams got the puck to Backstrom to the left of the crease and he lobbed a shot over Reimer's left arm with 0.8 seconds displaying on the clock.
- The three on three overtime was exciting with both teams taking chances and coming close on odd man rushes. Despite their best efforts though both Holtby (4 saves) and Reimer (3 saves) kept the score tied and brought the contest to a shootout.
- Ovechkin would wind up winning it in the shootout's fourth round, after posts from Oshie and Kuznetsov and perfect play from Holtby. A simple deke to the forehand with some patience allowed Ovechkin space to roof the puck past Reimer's outstretched glove.
- Wilson, despite his silly third period penalties, led the team with seven legal hits and he did so in only 6:28 of work. Both he and Michael Latta were the only Washington skaters to log less than ten minutes of ice time.
- Both teams converted with the man advantage but Toronto went 1 for 3 and Washington only went 1 for 6. The Capitals could've secured two points in regulation with a better power play performance tonight.
Washington will rest until Tuesday night when they take on the Red Wings in Detroit. Ovechkin will be gunning for record-setting goal number 484 as the Capitals look for two more points to keep themselves competitive in the tight Metropolitan Division.