Friday night, the Caps beat the Leafs 2-1 in overtime, taking a 3-2 lead in the series. It was yet another stressful night, with both teams trading chances and with the momentum seeming to swing almost shift to shift. The Leafs can hang.
Highlights included the game winner by Justin Williams on a defensive breakdown and another goal by TJ Oshie to kick off the scoring (he now has seven points in five games). The lowlight was an existentially terrifying hit on Alex Ovechkin by Nazem Kadri, with the big Russian somehow returning mostly unscathed for the second period. Also, Tom Wilson took four penalties (that can’t happen) which the Caps deftly killed, and Auston Matthews potted his third goal of the series.
The final shot attempt tally was 50 to 48 in favor of the Caps (at five-on-five), and scoring chances were 22-23 with the edge to the Leafs. The series could hardly be any closer.
With tonight’s contest going to OT, 42 of the #Capitals’ last 53 playoff games will have been decided by one goal.
— Jake Russell (@_JakeRussell) April 22, 2017
TOR-WSH G5. Good things a little more likely to happen with Nate Schmidt on the ice than off. pic.twitter.com/5giJD7yaPo
— Muneeb Alam (@muneebalamcu) April 22, 2017
Let’s go with our favorite, Nate Schmidt. Really though, with Alzner out having a player like Schmidt to step in is an absolute luxury. Schmidt was a plus-eight in shot attempts and a plus-six in scoring chances last night and wasn’t on for any goals for or against.
We mentioned above that there is increased hierarchy in the lines, and there has also been significantly more of a defense ice-time hierarchy than in the regular season. Dmitry Orlov is officially a workhorse, playing 23.5 minutes per game at even strength during the playoffs. That is about two minutes more than Matt Niskanen at second most, although specials teams time could be playing a part there. Brooks Orpik and Nate Schmidt are playing seven minutes per game less than Orlov at even strength, though Schmidt wasn’t in the lineup for the long overtime in game two.
Stats courtesy of NaturalStatTrick and Corsica.Hockey.
Photo byRob Carr/Getty Images.
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