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Stanley Cup playoffs three stars: Maple Leafs crank up heat on Capitals with OT stunner, series lead

18 April 2017 07:56

The Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Washington Capitals in the NHL playoffs on a Monday full of overtime drama.

The Maple Leafs twice faced two-goal deficits but battled back from 2-0 and 3-1 to force overtime for the third time in three games to begin this must-watch series.

Tyler Bozak's goal, a point-blank deflection that gave Braden Holtby scant chance at a save, was a thing of beauty, sending Leafs fans into an unfamiliar frenzied state of euphoria courtesy of a 4-3 OT win and 2-1 series lead.

Overtime was needed in all four games.

The Ottawa Senators took a 2-1 series lead against the Boston Bruins with a 4-3 win and the Nashville Predators are 3-0 up against the Chicago Blackhawks after a 3-2 victory.

The Anaheim Ducks overcame the Calgary Flames 5-4 to lead their series 3-0.

 

Three stars

Corey Perry, Ducks - Perry's first goal of the playoffs one minute, 30 seconds into overtime capped a ferocious Ducks comeback from down 4-1 in the second period to a 3-0 series lead. This was the 11th game decided in overtime through the first 22 of the playoffs. 

Bobby Ryan, Senators - Ryan disappeared often during the regular season, but he has been Ottawa's most productive playoff performer thus far. He netted the overtime winner, bringing his series point total to four and putting Boston in a 2-1 series hole.

Filip Forsberg, Predators - Forsberg was the beneficiary of a couple of fortunate bounces to score both Predators third-period goals that erased a 2-0 deficit and forced overtime. Kevin Fiala finished the job, scoring with 3:16 left in the extra frame.

 

Highlight

Was Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford interfered with on the Predators' tying goal? Just before Forsberg buried his second of the game, Viktor Arvidsson appeared to bump Crawford's head while skating in front of the crease. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville challenged the call, but the goal stood.

Tuesday's game to watch

Game four: Penguins at Blue Jackets - The Blue Jackets, after finishing fourth in the NHL with 108 regular-season points, are in serious jeopardy of coming up empty in the postseason, facing a 3-0 series deficit. If a comeback is in the offing, it will have to be done without stud rookie defenseman Zach Werenski, who is out for the playoffs with a facial fracture suffered in game three. The Penguins will end the misery sooner rather than later.

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