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game recap

Capitals eliminate Maple Leafs with Game 6 OT win

Marcus Johansson scores 6:31 into overtime; Braden Holtby makes 37 saves

by Dave McCarthy / Correspondent

TORONTO -- Marcus Johansson scored twice, including the winning goal 6:31 into overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 2-1 series-ending win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 at Air Canada Centre on Sunday.

"It's going to be tight; it's never going to be an easy ride," Johansson said. "I think it's good for us where we kind of got a start where everything just didn't go smoothly. You have to work hard and battle for it."

Braden Holtby made 37 saves for the Capitals, who won the best-of-7 series 4-2 and advanced to the Eastern Conference Second Round to face the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I know earlier in the series [Holtby] took some criticism and there were a lot of doubters out there," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "The only people who doubted him were the people on the outside. But in our room, there was no doubt. He's been too good for too long, he makes those key saves and that's why he's a Vezina candidate the last few years."


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


Frederik Andersen made 34 saves for the Maple Leafs.

Toronto got a break when Morgan Rielly shot the puck into the Capitals zone from center ice along the glass and it bounced off a stanchion into the slot and on to Auston Matthews stick. He put a shot over Holtby's glove at 7:45 of the third period to put Toronto up 1-0.

"Bounces like that happen. I try to focus on every game as just a game, no other outside things, playoffs, regular season or whatever," Holtby said. "I break down a goal, what I did well and what I didn't and move on. But I think the big thing was our team didn't sag at all, we got better. Throughout the series bounces weren't going our way but we got mentally stronger as it went on. [We said] we're not going to let that affect us, that we're still going to play through everything, and it showed."

Video: WSH@TOR, Gm6: Johansson sneaks home puck to tie game

Johansson tied the game 1-1 at 12:51 when he banked a shot off Andersen from the side of the net.

"I didn't think we had the puck much after that," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "You have a chance to walk out the door in overtime; it's in your building, you're [facing] elimination but we didn't push them, they pushed us, they were better."

Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner came close to breaking the scoreless tie when he hit the goal post with a point shot at 7:50 of the second period. It was the first time in the series neither team scored by the second intermission.


Goal of the game

Capitals forward Evgeni Kuznetsov won an offensive zone faceoff against Brian Boyle. John Carlson passed to Justin Williams along the sideboards and Williams shot on net. Andersen made the initial save but Johansson got inside position on Maple Leafs defenseman Martin Marincin and put in the rebound for the winner.

Video: WSH@TOR, Gm6: Johansson clinches series win in OT


Save of the game

Matthews stole the puck from Williams in the corner at 4:29 of the second period and passed to Zach Hyman in the slot. Holtby made a right-shoulder save on a point-blank shot to keep the game scoreless.

Video: WSH@TOR, Gm6: Holtby robs Hyman with arm save


Highlight of the game

At 13:49 of the third period and the scored tied 1-1, Leo Komarov skated the puck to the front of the net but was stopped by Holtby. The rebound went into the corner and was fired back on net by Nazem Kadri. Holtby, after spinning around in the crease, reached out with his stick to knock it down and cover up with Connor Brown looking for a rebound.

Video: WSH@TOR, Gm6: Holtby robs Komarov, covers rebound


Unsung performance of the game

Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt returned after leaving the game for about five minutes in the third period with an apparent injury after taking a hit from Komarov. He played 20:22, finished plus-1 and blocked two shots.


They said it

"It's an empty feeling. We've grown a lot and [have] a lot to be proud of, but very tough feeling right now. It's awesome to be in this community, to be part of this team. The support we have here is unbelievable, a lot to build off, but it's tough." -- Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen


"I think it's tough to simulate anything even close to what just happened in the last couple weeks. So it's good for our hockey team, and to think where we were a year ago to where we are now, it's great to think about." -- Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri


"Give them credit. They battled hard. They're young but they're strong. They have a very good future. They have good young players and they will be successful in the next year and couple of years." -- Capitals forward Alex Ovechki


Need to know

Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner missed his fourth consecutive game with an upper-body injury.


What's next

Maple Leafs: Season over

Capitals: Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2)


Video: Caps clinch series on Johansson's OT winner in Game 6

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