WASHINGTON – Brooks Orpik scored less than two minutes into overtime, Alex Ovechkin had two assists and the Washington Capitals beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Saturday to give the defending Stanley Cup champions a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.
The tone was set for a wacky afternoon when a rat fell out of a hallway ceiling during the Hurricanes’ pregame soccer match. The weird vibes lasted long after the dead rat was removed — from a questionable ejection for a check to the head to a shot off one goalie’s mask and another that went in off the other goalie’s backside.
Ovechkin assisted on goals by Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson to help put Washington up two games to none in a series for just the third time in the past five years. In perhaps his final NHL postseason, Orpik scored 1:48 into the extra period of the Capitals’ first overtime playoff game since they eliminated Pittsburgh in the second round a year ago.
Braden Holtby stopped 25 shots, and T.J. Oshie also scored. Holtby allowed goals to Lucas Wallmark, Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal, the last on a Carolina power play with 5 minutes left in regulation.
Carolina goaltender Petr Mrazek rebounded from an inconsistent Game 1 to make 29 saves.
Game 3 Monday night in Raleigh in the Hurricanes’ first home playoff game since May 26, 2009.
Bruins 4, Maple Leafs 1
In Boston, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron scored, Tuukka Rask stopped 30 shots and Boston beat Toronto to tie the series at one game apiece.
Two nights after Toronto beat Boston 4-1 in the opener to steal away home-ice advantage, the Bruins dominated their Atlantic Division rivals, taking a 3-0 lead with a 29-16 edge in shots on goal into the third period. Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen also scored for the Bruins.
Nazem Kadri scored the Leafs’ only goal midway through the third, and Frederik Andersen made 37 saves for Toronto, which returns home for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday nights.
Predators 2, Stars 1(OT)
In Nashville, Craig Smith scored five minutes into overtime to give Nashville the victory over Dallas, tying the first-round Western Conference series 1-1.
Smith scored his first this postseason from the inside edge of the left circle to snap a three-game playoff skid on home ice for Nashville.
Rocco Grimaldi also scored for Nashville, and Pekka Rinne made 22 saves. The Predators had lost five of their last six postseason games in the place they call Smashville.
Jamie Benn scored for Dallas. Game 3 is Monday night in Dallas.
Avalanche 3, Flames 2 (OT)
In Calgary, Alberta, Nathan MacKinnon scored 8:27 into overtime and the Colorado Avalanche tied their first-round series with the Flames at a game apiece.
After Philipp Grubauer stopped Michael Frolik at one end, the puck went up ice, where a pass from Mikko Rantanen sprung MacKinnon down the left wing and he fired a shot into the top corner on Mike Smith.
Matt Nieto and J.T. Compher also scored for the Avalanche. Rasmus Andersson and Sean Monahan had goals for the Flames.
The series continues Monday night in Colorado.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5