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Capitals defeat Maple Leafs in OT of Game 5, lead series

Justin Williams scores at 1:04 to put Washington one win from advancing

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Justin Williams always seems to find a way to rise to the occasion. At least that's what his Washington Capitals teammates think.

Williams did it again Friday, scoring 1:04 into overtime to give the Capitals a 2-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Verizon Center. 

"There's a level of competitiveness that I think some people are able to bring themselves to, and there are some guys that can just bring it higher," Capitals forward T.J. Oshie said. "He's one of those guys that when everyone gets tense and everyone grabs their sticks a little tight, he gets more focused and finds ways to pull off the big play."

Williams, however, shrugged off his second overtime and seventh Stanley Cup Playoff game-winner. 

"I haven't scored that many big goals," he said. "I was in the right place at the right time tonight."

 

[WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Capitals highlights | RELATED: Complete Toronto vs. Washington series coverage]

 

Williams skated between the circles and took a pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov before shooting past goalie Frederik Andersen. 

"I wasn't quite sure it went in, but I saw [Marcus] Johansson with his arms in the air and he was excited, so I figured something good happened," Williams said.

Video: TOR@WSH, Gm5: Ovechkin leaves with injury, returns

The Capitals lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 with Game 6 at Toronto on Sunday. Game 7 would be at Washington on Tuesday. Four of the five games have gone to overtime, and the other was decided by one goal.

Oshie scored a power-play goal in the first period for Washington, and Auston Matthews tied it in the second period for Toronto. 

"I think we played well enough to win that game tonight," Maple Leafs defenseman Matt Hunwick said. "We're not going to dwell on it, we're going to go get ready for Game 6 and put all our effort into that."

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin left the game with 2:28 remaining in the first period after he was checked by Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri, who was penalized for tripping. 

After Ovechkin was helped from the ice, Oshie scored on the power play with 1:45 left for a 1-0 lead.

Video: TOR@WSH, Gm5: Oshie puts home rebound for PPG 

"Everyone is an important player, but there's only one Ovi, and when you see him down like that you get a little nervous and you get a little upset," Oshie said. "I thought we responded the right way with scoring the goal right away."

Ovechkin returned to start the second period, and Matthews scored his third goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to tie it 1-1 at 6:00.

Braden Holtby made 24 saves for Washington; Andersen made 26.

 

Goal of the game 

William Nylander flung the puck toward the net and Matthews jumped on the rebound for an easy tap-in.

Video: TOR@WSH, Gm5: Matthews scores with quick hands

 

Save of the game

Andersen got his glove on the puck on the goal line to stop Kuznetsov from scoring at the end of a Washington power play.

Video: TOR@WSH, Gm5: Andersen robs Kuznetsov with glove

 

Highlight of the game

Jay Beagle won a defensive-zone faceoff to start a breakout into the Maple Leafs zone. Johansson got to the puck behind the net and passed to Kuznetsov. He passed to Williams in the slot from below the right circle, and Williams scored with a low one-timer.

Video: TOR@WSH, Gm5: Williams one-times overtime winner

 

Unsung performance of the game

Ovechkin started the game with a big hit on Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner in the first period but left after he appeared to injure his left knee. Ovechkin returned for the second period and found Gardiner for another hit on the first shift.

"Ovi's a horse," Williams said. "It takes a lot to hurt that guy, especially this time of year. He came back hard, fans gave him a great ovation, and he played another hard game for us again."

Video: TOR@WSH, Gm5: Ovechkin lays a big hit on Gardiner

 

They said it

"These are big moments. To win a championship, you need to relish these moments and you need to come up big in these moments. We've done that in two of the four … overtime games, and we're [going to] need to come up really big in Game 6." -- Capitals forward Justin Williams

 

"We were confident coming into this building, understanding we can get going. So we [have] to play much the same way. As you could see out there, there wasn't a lot going on without the entire ice essentially being clogged up. That's how this series is going to be. We've got to find a way to pull off one or two wins here." -- Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri

 

Need to know

Williams has 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in Games 5-7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs; his teams are 26-18 in those 44 games. … The Maple Leafs had not played four overtime playoff games in one series since the 1951 Stanley Cup Final against the Montreal Canadiens, which Toronto won in five games. … Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner (lower body) missed his third game.

 

What's next

Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Air Canada Centre on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN, CSN-DC)

 

Video: Williams' OT goal gives Capitals 3-2 series lead

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