Capitals 5 Maple Leafs 4
TORONTO (AP) — Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie each scored two goals, and the Washington Capitals beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Wednesday night to tie their first-round playoff series at two games apiece.
Alex Ovechkin added his third goal of the playoffs as the top-seeded Capitals regained momentum with the series shifting back to Washington for Game 5 on Friday night. Braden Holtby made 30 saves.
Zach Hyman, James van Riemsdyk, Auston Matthews and Tyler Bozak scored for Toronto, which was coming off a 4-3 overtime win on Monday night. Frederik Andersen stopped 22 shots.
The Maple Leafs rallied after the Capitals scored four times in the first for a 4-1 lead. Bozak, who had the winning goal in Game 3, got Toronto within one with 26 seconds left, but Washington held on from there.
The tight finish came after a dominant start for the Capitals.
Oshie got Washington on the board when he capitalized on a Nate Schmidt point shot sent purposefully wide of the net. Ovechkin then was left wide open for a one-time drive on a power play, making it 2-0 at 4:34 of the first.
It was similar to Game 3 when Toronto also went down 2-0 in the first five minutes, but the club was unable to recover this time around. The Capitals added two more goals in the first in a span of less than three minutes — both by Wilson, a Toronto native.
Moved up in the lineup for Game 4 as coach Barry Trotz looked for a spark, Wilson first pulled back a Morgan Rielly shot from the goal line after it snuck through the pads of Holtby. He then raced the other way and deflected Lars Eller’s harmless shot from the sideboards past Andersen.
On his next shift, Wilson barreled over Rielly near the Washington blue line and then finished off a 2-on-1 sequence with Andre Burakovsky for a 4-1 lead at 16:04.
Van Riemsdyk scored early in the second on a power play, but Toronto wasted nearly two full minutes of a 5-on-3 advantage.
Washington appeared to go up 5-2 with just under 12 minutes to go, but the goal by Schmidt was waved off on goalie interference. The Caps challenged the play, which saw Nicklas Backstrom get tangled up with Andersen, but the initial call was confirmed.
Matthews scored his second at 12 minutes, but Oshie restored Washington’s two-goal lead 59 seconds later.