Ovechkin, a two-time MVP who led the NHL with 32 goals this season, crashed the net to score on a power play about seven minutes into the second period to tie the game for the Capitals, the third-seeded team in the Eastern Conference.
Carl Hagelin had put sixth-seeded New York ahead 1-0 in the first period — the only puck that made it past Braden Holtby, who finished with 35 saves.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday in Washington.
Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
TONIGHT ON NHL NETWORK
5:00 ET: NHL Live Powered by Constellation 7:00 ET: NHL Tonight