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NHL PLAYOFF ROUNDUP: Capitals avoid 0-2 hole with OT win

Photo by Nick Wass

Photo by Nick Wass

WASHINGTON -- Don't count out the Washington Capitals, no matter how big the deficit, no matter how dire the circumstances.

Nicklas Backstrom completed a hat trick by scoring 31 seconds into overtime, and the top-seeded Capitals beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-5 on Saturday night to even the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at a game apiece.

Montreal led 2-0 after its first two shots, prompting Washington to yank goalie Jose Theodore, and then went ahead 4-1. But with Alex Ovechkin producing a goal and three assists, the Capitals kept rallying.

Rookie defenseman John Carlson tied it at 5-all with 1:21 left in regulation, and Backstrom's wrister past Jaroslav Halak won it.

Game 3 is Monday night in Montreal.

Andrei Kostitsyn had a hat trick for the eighth-seeded Canadiens, and Tomas Plekanec put them ahead 5-4 with 5:06 left in regulation. But Carlson picked a fine time for his second NHL score -- he had one in 22 regular-season games.

Montreal was ahead 4-2 heading into the third period, but Ovechkin's first goal of the postseason made it a one-goal game at 2:56. With 10 minutes left in the third, Backstrom poked in a pass from Ovechkin -- reversing their usual roles, which designate the Swede as the passer and the Russian as the scorer.

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Kings 3, Canucks 2, OT

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Anze Kopitar scored on a power play 7:28 into overtime and Los Angeles overcame a two-goal deficit to beat Vancouver, tying the Western Conference series at a game apiece.

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 and then bounced in off the butt end of the goalie's stick.

Fredrik Modin and Wayne Simmonds scored 35 seconds apart midway through the second period to tie it for the Kings, who will host Game 3 on Monday night.

Jonathan Quick overcame a soft early goal -- and two on the first four shots -- to finish with 24 saves for his first win in 10 starts dating to March 22.

Steve Bernier and Mikael Samuelsson scored first-period goals, Ryan Kesler had two assists and Luongo made 29 saves for the Canucks.

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Bruins 5, Sabres 3

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Michael Ryder and Zdeno Chara scored 2 minutes apart in the third period and Boston rallied to tie the Eastern Conference series 1-1.

The Sabres not only squandered a lead entering the third period for the first time this season but also lost leading scorer Thomas Vanek, who didn't return after he hurt his left foot in the first period.

Chara and Ryder both scored twice for the Bruins, who erased deficits of 2-0 and 3-2. Chara broke a 3-3 tie by snapping a shot over the right shoulder of goalie Ryan Miller with 12:37 left.

Jason Pominville, Matt Ellis and rookie defenseman Tyler Myers scored for Buffalo.

Mark Recchi sealed the victory by scoring into an open net as the Bruins ended a seven-game playoff losing streak at Buffalo. Game 3 is Monday night in Boston.