Kapanen scores double OT winner as Leafs beat Capitals 4-3

Matthews, though, has also distinguished himself to Washington's head coach Barry Trotz for his puck-stealing ability. What if Brett Connolly's shot hadn't rang off the post?

Toronto was forced to play with five defensemen after losing Roman Polak to an injury in the second period.

The Leafs went into the series thinking they were going to win and nothing's changed. One has to wonder if the increased ice time on special teams and the extracurricular activities between plays are taking their toll on the veteran team. Defensively, the Toronto Maple Leafs are allowing 2.9 goals per game and are killing 82.5 percent of their opponents power plays.

Obviously, we didn't start the way we wanted.

The trio of rookies were the Leafs most effective, especially as the game wore on. "It's on", said Trotz.

It was the second straight overtime game of the series, both wins for the Senators.

Now we get back to the present.

It was Kapanen's second goal of the game, and his biggest since scoring the overtime victor in the gold-medal final of the World Junior Championship for his native Finland.

They'll deny it, of course, but the idea that this team, which has about half the roster on expiring contracts, won't be the same again - win or lose - that's the real deal. Alzner spends over three minutes per game shorthanded. That's why Toronto's win was so important. The Maple Leafs certainly have to be feeling this as well heading to home. It says a lot about the youthful team, but is says much more about the Capitals.

Nikita Zaitsev will become the 10th Leaf to make his playoff debut this spring, ready to rejoin the team for Game 3 on Monday night after sitting out the opening two games of a first round series against Washington with a suspected concussion.

Toronto has trailed for fewer than four minutes in the series.

"And obviously now if you talk to our guys, our guys think they're a good hockey team", Babcock said after the latest victory, Toronto's first on home ice in the playoffs in almost four years.

Washington also bears the weight of being the heavy favorites over the young Maple Leafs, many of whom have never experienced the Stanley Cup playoffs before.

Indeed, because of parity, upsets feel less like upsets these days.

Nylander evened it up at three at the tail-end of that second period.

Game 4 is Wednesday night in Boston. "This was one of them".

Babcock: I just thought they were good all night.

Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for the Presidents' Trophy-winning Capitals. Johansson let a shot go that was easily kicked aside by Frederik Andersen, but it went right to Kuznetsov who netted the sharp angle shot.

"The games in Washington we were just scratching the surface of what we can do". How long before the team starts to second-guess what it's doing?

"I think that kind of works in our favour, home ice", Matthews said. For whatever reason, we were amped up, for whatever reason. "There's a lot of belief in our room".

The 27-year-old, who was mostly sharp if still error-prone in Game 1 (three goals, 44 shots), managed to keep the Leafs in front until they gained some momentum and scored the first goal.

Zaitsev skated at Air Canada Centre on Sunday afternoon and either he or Alexey Marchenko will get the nod for Monday night. He defines Leafs Nation, at least the rawness aspect of it. All those little things add up as the season goes on, from tying up your player on a draw to getting position in front of a player by the Leafs net.

BLUE JACKETS: Columbus' uphill climb back into its first-round playoff series got even steeper when Blue Jackets Coach John Tortorella announced that rookie defenseman Zach Werenski will not play again this season. Today they were totally in control of the play, they had a lot of possession time, I thought they were risky, I thought they were skating. "If you're not, they're not".

With 16 seconds left in regulation, Capitals center Lars Eller was called for high-sticking.