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Capitals vs. Maple Leafs: Marcus Saves the Best for Last, Caps Win 2-1

Game 6 was a hand-to-hand, zone-to-zone affair that was scoreless through 40 minutes. The teams exchanged third period goals, then went to overtime...again. But it ended happily for the home squad.

Washington Capitals v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Six Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Game 6 was unlike any other in the series between the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Scoreless through two periods, the game looked like a 1990’s grind-fest. Then, another weird bounce gave the Leafs a lead. Marcus Johansson tied it. In overtime, Johansson won it...Next up, the Penguins.

Here’s Sunday night’s Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Braden Holtby was sharp, arguably the best player on the ice for the Caps. An odd bounce off a stanchion led to the only blemish on the record for his evening in regulation.
  • Minus: Finish. Plays...series. The Caps had their chances, but they lacked finish. But they did have finish in the last.

Ten more notes on the game...

  • Boring was not an adjective to describe the first periods of the first five games of this series, but Game 6 was the first one in which neither team could muster a goal in the first or second period.
  • Rallying from a deficit in the third period was a bit of role reversal for the Caps, who too often in this series got out to leads and did not hold them.
  • In the end, it was the second line of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Justin Williams, and Marcus Johansson that had perhaps the best game of any line for the Caps in this series.
  • Never before had Marcus Johansson scored an overtime playoff goal. It was his second career postseason game-winner, his first one coming in a 3-1 win in Game 1 of the 2013 series against the New York Rangers.
  • Grinding through 60 minutes finally paid dividends in the overtime session, as the Caps out-shot the Leafs, 5-1.
  • Overcoming adversity is something a lot of Stanley Cup winners have to go through. It often comes in the form of a difficult early-round series. Difficult would be an apt description of this series.
  • Never before had the Caps played in five overtime games in a single series. They played four overtimes against Boston in 2012 before emerging victorious in a clinching Game 7.
  • Preserving Alex Ovechkin’s ice time early in the series seemed to pay dividends in this game. Ovechkin skated 22:45 and had seven shots on goal. It was part of a good game for the top line in putting pressure on the Leafs. T.J. Oshie added five shots on goal for a 12-shot night for the top line.
  • If there is a tougher sonuvagun than Nate Schmidt, point him out. After taking a knee-on-knee hit from Leo Komoarov, he still finished with more than 20 minutes in ice time and was on the ice for the game-winner.
  • The road to the Stanley Cup was always going to have a stretch on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh. For the second time in two seasons, the Caps get to face the Penguins in the second round. One hopes there will be some score settling done, but for now, a job well done getting past a superbly talented and well coached Toronto Maple Leafs team that has as bright a future as any team in the league in front of it.

And now, this...