WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Capitals could have been forgiven for getting a bit down on themselves Saturday night.
Consider where things stood in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against Montreal. The Canadiens already had won Game 1, then scored on their first two shots Saturday night, prompting Washington to yank goalie Jose Theodore. By late in the second period, the Canadiens held a three-goal lead.
Plus, two-time league MVP Ovechkin still was without a point in the series.
"I'm pretty sure we were pretty deflated," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau acknowledged.
Then everything changed.
Ovechkin delivered a goal and three assists, and linemate Nicklas Backstrom completed a hat trick by scoring 31 seconds into overtime, helping the top-seeded Capitals finish a wild comeback to win 6-5 and even their Eastern Conference playoff series at 1.
"We have that side of our team: We never give up," Backstrom said.
Montreal led 4-1 thanks mainly to Andrei Kostitsyn's hat trick. After Washington tied it, the Canadiens retook the lead on Tomas Plekanec's goal with 5:06 left in regulation.
Ovechkin, coming off the first game in his career without a point or shot on goal, came out aggressively, leveling Marc-Andre Bergeron right away and putting a shot on goal less than 10 seconds into his opening shift.
He was asked if his early hitting was part of a strategy to turn his game around.
"Strategy? Just destroy people? No. No, my job is to score goals. If I have a chance to hit somebody, I'm going to hit him," Ovechkin said.
|Series tied 1-1|
First Period—1, Montreal, Gionta 1 (Gomez), 1:00. 2, Montreal, A.Kostitsyn 1, 7:58. 3, Washington, Fehr 1 (Fleischmann), 10:21. Penalties—None.
Second Period—4, Montreal, A.Kostitsyn 2 (Cammalleri, Plekanec), 11:06. 5, Montreal, A.Kostitsyn 3 (Spacek, Cammalleri), 17:44 (pp). 6, Washington, Backstrom 2 (Corvo, Ovechkin), 18:23. Penalties—Belanger, Was (tripping), :37; Laich, Was (tripping), 16:08; Cammalleri, Mon (slashing), 19:39.
Third Period—7, Washington, Ovechkin 1 (Carlson), 2:56. 8, Washington, Backstrom 3 (Ovechkin, Schultz), 9:47. 9, Montreal, Plekanec 2 (Cammalleri, A.Kostitsyn), 14:54. 10, Washington, Carlson 1 (Backstrom, Ovechkin), 18:39. Penalties—Gomez, Mon, major (fighting), 3:30; Poti, Was, major (fighting), 3:30; Semin, Was (tripping), 4:13; Gill, Mon (interference), 11:27; Pouliot, Mon (tripping), 15:17. First Overtime—11, Washington, Backstrom 4 (Knuble, Poti), :31. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Montreal 8-10-6-0—24. Washington 13-10-13-1—37. Power-play opportunities—Montreal 1 of 3; Washington 0 of 3. Goalies—Montreal, Halak 1-1-0 (37 shots-31 saves). Washington, Theodore (2-0), Varlamov 1-0-0 (7:58 first, 22-19). A—18,377 (18,277). T—2:44.
BRUINS 5, SABRES 3: Michael Ryder and the Bruins finally got going on offense. In cracking host Buffalo's third-period lockdown, Ryder and Zdeno Chara scored two minutes apart and led Boston to a comeback victory to tie their East series at 1.
Ryder and Chara each scored twice in a big turnaround for the Bruins, who were 29th in the 30-team league in scoring in the regular season. This win came on the heels of Boston's 39-shot output in Thursday's 2-1 loss.
"It's definitely a big boost," Ryder said. "We've had struggles all year scoring goals. It's a good time for us to start finding the back of the net."
And they did it against star goalie Ryan Miller and a team that had gone 31-0 when entering the third period with a lead this season.
Buffalo's leading scorer, Thomas Vanek, didn't return after hurting his lower left leg in the first period. Coach Lindy Ruff wouldn't reveal the severity of the injury or whether Vanek would play Monday in Game 3. Vanek was hurt after he was hooked from behind during a partial breakaway in the first.
The Sabres unraveled by allowing five goals — including Mark Recchi's empty-netter — after building a 2-0 first-period lead.
The Bruins ended a seven-game playoff losing streak at Buffalo, dating to 1992.
|Series tied 1-1|
First Period—1, Buffalo, Myers 1 (Tallinder, Vanek), 2:55. 2, Buffalo, Ellis 1 (Kaleta, Torres), 12:00. Penalties—Sobotka, Bos (goaltender interference), 6:56; Roy, Buf (holding stick), 9:04; Krejci, Bos (high-sticking), 9:25; Boychuk, Bos (hooking), 13:39.
Second Period—3, Boston, Ryder 1 (Sobotka, Wheeler), 2:35. 4, Boston, Chara 1 (Bergeron, Boychuk), 9:54. 5, Buffalo, Pominville 1 (Ennis), 16:41. Penalties—Kennedy, Buf (hooking), 5:04.
Third Period—6, Boston, Ryder 2 (Ference, Wheeler), 5:23. 7, Boston, Chara 2 (Satan, Krejci), 7:23. 8, Boston, Recchi 2, 19:40 (en). Penalties—Thornton, Bos (high-sticking), 8:27. Shots on Goal—Boston 12-11-8—31. Buffalo 13-10-6—29. Power-play opportunities—Boston 0 of 2; Buffalo 0 of 4. Goalies—Boston, Rask 1-1-0 (29 shots-26 saves). Buffalo, Miller 1-1-0 (30-26). A—18,690 T—2:31.
Kings 3, Canucks 2 OT: Anze Kopitar scored on a power play 7:28 into overtime and the Kings overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the host Canucks and tie the Western Conference series at 1.
With the Canucks penalized for too many men on the ice after a sloppy line change, Kopitar got his own rebound in the slot and fired a quick shot that hit Roberto Luongo, then bounced in off the butt of the goalie's stick.
|Series tied 1-1|
First Period—1, Vancouver, S.Bernier 1 (Kesler, Wellwood), 7:33 (pp). 2, Vancouver, Samuelsson 3 (Demitra, Kesler), 9:49. Penalties—Alberts, Van (cross-checking), 1:16; Smyth, LA (interference), 5:53; Alberts, Van (tripping), 17:10; Modin, LA (roughing), 18:44; Ehrhoff, Van (roughing), 18:44.
Second Period—3, Los Angeles, Modin 2 (J.Johnson, Brown), 10:58 (pp). 4, Los Angeles, Simmonds 1 (Kopitar), 11:33. Penalties—Demitra, Van (holding), 1:00; O'Brien, Van (roughing), 9:13; Halpern, LA (holding), 13:14; Stoll, LA (delay of game), 18:38.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Alberts, Van (hooking), 6:16. First Overtime—5, Los Angeles, Kopitar 1 (Doughty, J.Johnson), 7:28 (pp). Penalties—Vancouver bench, served by Wellwood (too many men), 6:14. Shots on Goal—Los Angeles 8-11-11-2—32. Vancouver 4-13-5-4—26. Power-play opportunities—Los Angeles 2 of 6; Vancouver 1 of 3. Goalies—Los Angeles, Quick 1-1-0 (26 shots-24 saves). Vancouver, Luongo 1-1-0 (32-29). A—18,810. T—2:45.
LATE FRIDAY: By overcoming five one-goal deficits, the Sharks avoided falling into a much deeper hole. Joe Pavelski tied it in the last minute of regulation and Devin Setoguchi's power-play goal 5:32 into overtime won it as host San Jose tied its West series at 1 with a 6-5 victory over Colorado. … Henrik Zetterberg scored the winner with 6:06 left to cap his first hat trick in the playoffs as visiting Detroit defeated Phoenix 7-4 to tie their West series at 1.