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game recap

Capitals hang on against Maple Leafs to win Game 4, even series

Washington scores four first-period goals, thwarts Toronto comeback

by Dave McCarthy / Correspondent

TORONTO -- The Washington Capitals scored four first-period goals in a series-tying 5-4 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday.

The best-of-7 series is 2-2 with Game 5 at Washington on Friday.

T.J. Oshie and Tom Wilson each scored twice, Alex Ovechkin scored, and Braden Holtby made 29 saves for the Capitals, who led 2-0 4:34 into the game.


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


"We had everyone going. We were putting pucks to the right areas" Oshie said. "We were shooting a little bit more, getting guys to the net, and I think that gave us some more chances. You've got to tip your hat because they kept coming at the end there, but we were able to hold them off."

Trailing 4-2, the Maple Leafs had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:53 to start the third period but did not score.

"When you have to sit and think about it a little bit, those moments can weigh on you," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "It was almost like there was no doubt when we came in the dressing room. They (the penalty kill) were going to get it done; we just had a good feeling about it."

Video: WSH@TOR, Gm4: Matthews chips home a loose puck

Auston Matthews scored to make it 4-3 with 8:00 left, but Oshie scored 59 seconds later for a 5-3 lead. Tyler Bozak made it 5-4 with 27 seconds left and Toronto using an extra attacker.

"It's nice that we're able to score goals and get ourselves back in the game, but we didn't play near as good as we needed to," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "We talked a lot about how the game was going to be today, but it didn't look like any of that sunk in. We weren't good enough, we didn't compete hard enough. I thought they won all the battles and all the races."

Oshie gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 2:58 of the first period, and Ovechkin made it 2-0 1:36 later on the power play. The Maple Leafs scored 42 seconds later when Jake Gardiner's point shot deflected off Zach Hyman's skate at the top of the crease and slipped past Holtby's left pad.

Tom Wilson scored at 13:41 and 16:04 to put the Capitals ahead 4-1. He has three goals in the series after scoring seven in 82 regular-season games. 

James van Riemsdyk scored a power-play goal at 5:39 of the second period to make it 4-2.

Oshie's goal at 8:11 of the third period was waved off when it was ruled Nicklas Backstrom interfered with goalie Frederik Andersen.


Goal of the game

Backstrom stole the puck at the Maple Leafs blue line and passed to Oshie, who was cutting to the net. Oshie put a wrist shot through Andersen's legs to restore Washington's two-goal lead.

Video: WSH@TOR, Gm4: Oshie goes five-hole for his second


Save of the game

Maple Leafs forward Connor Brown outraced Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt to a loose puck in the Capitals zone and swatted a one-handed shot toward the net at 4:20 of the second period. Holtby kicked out his left pad to make a toe save and keep it 4-1.


Highlight of the game

Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk knocked down a clearing attempt by Morgan Rielly at the blue line and passed to Ovechkin at the top of the left circle, where he one-timed a shot past Andersen's glove.

Video: WSH@TOR, Gm4: Ovechkin cranks slapper for PPG


Unsung performance of the game

Rielly took a wrist shot at 13:26 of the first period that squeezed through Holtby and was rolling toward the goal line until Wilson dove to swat it away and keep the Capitals up 2-1. He scored 15 seconds later.

"Those plays kind of go into slow-mo," Wilson said. "I could see it on his pants and knew with the shape of the puck it's going to fall down. I had time to jump in make a save there."


They said it

"I don't think it was them so much. I think it was more we beat ourselves today. We didn't come to execute, and we didn't talk to each other enough to break out clean and that cost us. We didn't play anywhere close to what we're capable of." -- Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen


"When you're a kid you always have big dreams. I was lucky enough to fulfill them. It's a huge privilege. There's a lot of guys that work hard to get to this level and if you get a chance to play an NHL game it's special. A playoff game? Even better." -- Capitals forward Tom Wilson


Need to know

Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner missed his second game with an upper-body injury. ... It was Wilson's first multigoal game in 345 NHL regular-season and playoff games.


What's next

Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Verizon Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports 2, CSN-DC)


Video: Oshie, Wilson lead Caps to 5-4 Game 4 win vs. Leafs

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