The first inclination the Capitals would have to counter the Leafs' momentum coming off Game 3 would be to unleash the same flurry of big hits in Game 4.
Three games in, three overtime games, and nearly nothing separates the Maple Leafs and the Capitals - except a power play goal by Tyler Bozak in the second minute of overtime, giving Toronto a 4-3 win and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
"We mention (Matthews in game planning), but we are not going out of our way to shadow him or anything ridiculous like that", Capitals defenceman Matt Niskanen said of Matthews. "So that hasn't changed". William Nylander, Connor Brown and Zach Hyman also have not yet found the scoreboard. Toronto came through on the power play in overtime, and took a 2-1 series lead with a 4-3 win at Air Canada Centre. The 20-year-old Swede and his linemates were just too much for the Capitals to handle, their speed and skill overwhelming a Kuznetsov-led second line.
In a wacky game with back-and-forth action, 12 minor penalties and Polak's injury, it was only fitting the best scoring chance in the first overtime didn't even feature a shot.
But Saturday's game was a penalty-filled affair. The young guys are fired up and want to do well.
"They're good guys and they're good players".
"I love the way he plays", Kuznetsov says of the Maple Leafs' talented 19-year-old.
Toronto coach Mike Babcock sensed his group gaining confidence after almost taking Game 1 at Washington. That gave the Capitals a five-on-three for two minutes, but they recorded just two shots on goal. "They're playing a good hockey team, but I think you gain respect for yourself in the process and you start believing that maybe you can do this". "Two big goals and I think our team played really well today".
The Leafs were doubted, in part, to beat the Caps because of their overwhelming inexperience - 10 players making their National Hockey League playoff debuts in this series. But it's not been an issue so far and even members of the opposition think the subject is overblown. So everything is magnified, that's all. The Washington Capitals have lost eight of their last nine games when allowing more than three goals.
The Washington Capitals face arguably the most important game in their franchise's history on Wednesday.
The Maple Leafs didn't seem the least bit intimidated playing the top-seeded Capitals on the road.
They had played well in the previous two games, but were held pointless on the scoresheet.
Caps goal: Alex Ovechkin from Nicklas Backstrom and T.j.
Could Toronto send the favorites to an early elimination?
After more than 90 minutes of hockey, Kasperi Kapanen scored the second-OT victor as the Maple Leafs beat the Capitals 4-3 Saturday in the longest game of the playoffs so far.
Tyler Bozak scored the overtime victor after the Leafs dug out from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1, controlling large swaths of play against a team that piled up 55 wins and 118 points during the regular season.
Ryan got free in the zone, tapping it in on assists by Kyle Turris and Erik Karlsson.
Those eyebrows are now painted blue as Leafs Nation erupted after that legendary overtime victor generated by the Leafs fourth line (Martin - Boyle) with rookie Kasperi Kapanen burying his second of the game and victor. Clarke MacArthur, Chris Wideman and Derick Brassard also scored for the Senators and Craig Anderson made 26 saves. In game one, Washington overcame a two-goal margin to win 3-2, while Toronto needed two overtime periods in game two to prevail in their 4-3 victory.
This time Bruins rallied from a 3-0 deficit with three goals in second period, tying it on a power-play goal by David Pastrnak. Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots.
Filip Forsberg scored twice in the third period to force overtime. Holtby made 47 saves. Game 4 is Wednesday at St. Louis.
Fiala scored his second goal of the series off James Neal's slick backhand pass.