TORONTO -- The series was consistent until the end: close.
The Washington Capitals defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in a six-game Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, finishing with a 2-1 overtime victory on Sunday night in a game that fit right in with the rest.
Each of the six games was decided by one goal, and five of them went to overtime.
The Capitals face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the next round.
"They pushed us and they hardened this series, and that bodes well for the Leafs, and I just want to congratulate them for a fantastic season," Washington coach Barry Trotz said.
Marcus Johansson scored both goals for the Capitals. He tied the game with his first goal of the series in the third period and notched the winner on a rebound at 6:31 of overtime.
Rookie Auston Matthews gave Toronto the lead in the third period.
"It's going to be like this," Johansson said. "This is the playoffs. It's going to be tight, it's never going to be an easy ride. But I think it's good for us where we got a start where everything didn't go smoothly. You kind of get right into it., and you have to work hard for it and battle for it."
Johansson scored on a rebound in overtime after Justin Williams took a shot from near the right boards.
"We just wanted to get control of the puck on the faceoff," Johansson said. "They had to stay out there, and Kuzy (Evgeny Kuznetsov) did a great job winning it and found me going to the back side, and (I) just got lucky to get a stick on it and get the rebound in."
The goal came after the Capitals applied continued pressure during the overtime.
"In the overtime, I just thought we went for it," Trotz said. "We were going for it, we were pushing hard."
Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said, "Well, you're disappointed for sure. You have an opportunity to get to overtime again, you have a chance. They were way better than us in overtime, I thought. But, from our perspective, we got to play a really good team, a really well-coached team with really good players.
"We got to find out where we're at and where our players are at. Until you've been through the playoffs with players, you don't really know the level of the player you have. You learn a lot about your team. I'm really proud of our guys. I think from where we were and expectations coming in -- I never even knew Mitch (Marner) could make the team -- so many different things. They grow -- our young guys are good."
Matthews scored his fourth goal of the series at 7:45 of the third period. A long pass by defenseman Morgan Rielly bounced off the end boards and in front of the goal. Matthews raced to the puck, pulled it back and shot it high over Holtby's left shoulder to give Toronto a 1-0 lead.
"It was just a pretty fortunate bounce," Matthews said. "It just popped right there, and I just tried to make a play. ... I was fortunate for it to go in."
Johansson tied the game at 12:51 with a shot from the left wing that squirted between Andersen and the post and just crossed the line.
"I thought we kept getting better and better as the pressure got higher," Holtby said. "They got that goal, that bounce, it's a lucky bounce. They hit a couple posts earlier or whatever. It was probably earned on their part, but we responded, we didn't play victim, we went right back down and played in their end."
The teams finished regulation time playing four skaters aside. Washington's T.J. Oshie and Toronto's Nazem Kadri received roughing penalties at 19:13 of the third.
Regarding the end of the Leafs' season, Matthews said, "It's not the best feeling. But I think when you look around the locker room after the game, just sitting here, I think we gave it our all. I think we left it all out on the ice. Every one of us is proud of each other. I think we have a bright future, we have unbelievable support from the city of Toronto and Leafs Nation. I think for us, the future is definitely bright."
NOTES: Capitals D Karl Alzner (upper-body injury) missed his fourth straight game Sunday. He continues to be listed as day-to-day. ... Washington called up C Chandler Stephenson from Hershey of the AHL, but he did not dress for the game Sunday. ... Despite not scoring in the first period Sunday, the Capitals had scored eight first-period goals in the series. It was the first time in the series that there was not a first-period goal and the first time the teams were tied through the first 20 minutes. ... Toronto had a 37-31 edge in shots on goal after three periods, but Washington posted a 5-1 shot advantage in overtime.