Wilson's first goal saves Washington

The Maple Leafs evened the series heading to Game 3 on Monday night in Toronto and have proven they can hang with Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington. Toronto's fourth line is capable of being effective in this series, as Game Two so dramatically showed, but too much time against Eller may be costly.

Kasperi Kapanen got to play hero for the Maple Leafs with two goals, including the game-winner with eight minutes remaining in the second overtime. The more the Capitals continue to do that, the more it could wear on Toronto as the series goes on.

But after going three years without a playoff game, Washington head coach Barry Trotz is expecting a “playoff atmosphere” at the Air Canada Centre. It sounds like we will once again see Marincin.

The Caps-Leafs series is tied 1-1, but there is no need for the number-one seeded team to panic. The son of longtime National Hockey League forward Sami Kapanen didn't get called up until late March but scored in the Maple Leafs' playoff clincher and is developing quite the reputation for making big plays. Everyone's talking about how it's been unexpected for us to just make the playoffs but we want to do more. "We've got young legs". You got to focus on what you can do and play the system that we're supposed to.

"It's a tough way to start the playoffs, but they came back and took it to us", Gardiner said of Washington's early troubles. "We know what we have to do to prepare for the next game and we're going to do everything we can to make sure that we're ready".

Loved by teammates and despised by opponents, Wilson perhaps fittingly had a Darcy Tucker Maple Leafs jersey as a kid, a nod to the kind of player he has become. Babcock had five defencemen available to him Saturday, but only played Connor Carrick about seven minutes more than the departing Polak (18:44 versus 11:21) and he didn't provide much clarity on why.

With Roman Polak done for the season after he suffered a difficult-to-watch right leg injury when he collided with Caps defenceman Brooks Orpik on Saturday, the Leafs have to try to plug a physical hole. If Zaitsev can't go because of his upper-body injury, Alexey Marchenko would step into the lineup. "I think sometimes he gets in his own way", Babcock said. They split the two games in D.C.in dramatic fashion, with an OT loss in Game One and a double OT win in Game Two.

Despite the Capitals leading in only 14 minutes and 29 seconds of total gameplay (157:08), the team has been playing good hockey. "This was a great atmosphere to play in and that provided a great atmosphere".

"A couple years ago I got booed off the ice at the end of a game in my hometown, so we've crossed that one off the list", Wilson said last week. "You'll get chills down your spine when you're on the bench for both teams".

As with every pending unrestricted free agent, MacLellan is holding off on decisions about who the Capitals can afford to keep and who they will have to move on from until after this postseason run.

"We have to focus on the next game", Holtby said, noting the Caps have rarely played with the lead in this series after playing with it the most this season. "They're different, believe me". After losing Game 1 in overtime, the former Anaheim Duck was not only technically sound throughout the game, but made key saves on breakaways and rushes, no matter what the Capitals threw at him.

Snipers Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom had a goal apiece in Game 2 for the Capitals, the first of the series for both players.

"We talked a lot about it after the first game", says Backstrom.

It's not from lack of trying that the Leafs lost; Toronto did everything they could to give the game over to the Capitals.

Matthews came on as the game evolved and finished with four shots and 10 attempts, his line the Leafs best in terms of possession.

Perhaps prompted by the shouts of Kasperi Kapanen, Brian Boyle checked his blindspot (to make sure that it was, in fact, the "higher percentage play") and swung a feathered backhand drop pass to the cutting rookie, who popped the overtime victor inside the post Braden Holtby vacated to track Boyle.

  • Julie Sanders