Tom Wilson could only lift his face up and give the biggest grin imaginable. It didn't matter that it came at an impossible angle, or that it was the first time he had ever accomplished anything this significant in his career. He was a hero, and it was time to celebrate. After all, it's not every day that a player seldom known for his goal scoring knocks in just his second career game-winning goal, one that propelled the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Miraculous overtime winner

The game was tied at 2-2 headed into overtime.

Wilson, who is from Toronto originally, happened to have the puck cascade toward him on the right side of the ice. With almost no angle available to him, the Washington Capitals forward launched a prayer towards the net. The shot turned out to be a rocket, as it blew right by Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen just over five minutes into overtime for the 3-2 victory.

On a Washington Capitals roster full of scoring stars - such as Alexander Ovechkin - Wilson was not the likely choice to step up and win the game for the team. He was the only forward on the team who failed to score at least ten goals this season. Additionally, Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock dismissed the forward's potential to be a threat during this series.

Perhaps the opposing coach put a chip on the shoulder of Wilson, who was happy to knock it off and put his team up in the series.

Stanley Cup contenders

It didn't take long for the Maple Leafs to get on the board. Mitch Marner scored within minutes of the opening faceoff, and then Jake Gardiner added to the lead by scoring a goal that was initially waved off for interference before being restored.

As is his custom this time of year, however, Justin Williams stepped up, scoring both of the regulation goals for the Capitals, the fourth time he has done so in the postseason. His play allowed for Wilson's winner to become a reality.

The game was closer than expected, but the series shouldn't be. The Maple Leafs have a lot of young talent, led by Marner and rookie Auston Matthews.

Their rebuild is well ahead of schedule, though, and they should be happy to be playing in the postseason simply. The Capitals, meanwhile, finished with the best record in hockey. They did so last year as well but failed to win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Anything less than an appearance in the finals this year will be viewed as unacceptable.

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