First night of playoffs teaches lesson to young Maple Leafs

  • First night of playoffs teaches lesson to young Maple Leafs

First night of playoffs teaches lesson to young Maple Leafs

They are the defending Stanley Cup Champions and have won the past two playoff series against the Capitals in the Ovechkin era. But they never made it past the second round of the playoffs in any of those years.

He hoped his inexperienced group just dove in with excitement and if there is one potential advantage for the Leafs, beyond their sensational depth of young skill, it's how little they have to lose against the Caps. After all, these teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in goal differential during the regular season. Luckily though, as Brian Boyle was exiting the penalty box, Oshie and Williams connected in the slot, the latter scoring to cut Toronto's lead in half. A string of 16 straight wins from late November into early January vaulted the Jackets to the top of the National Hockey League standings but ever since then they've struggled to stay a consistent team.

Expectations are high again this season as Washington won its second straight Presidents' Trophy and is the favorite to win the Cup, according to the betting markets (16 percent, per Predictwise) and the oddsmakers (3-to-1 odds, per the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). It would just be a tremendous weight off their shoulders.

Things stayed tight early in the third as the atmosphere intensified behind a raucous Verizon Center crowd, clad nearly entirely in Capitals red and chanting, "Let's go Caps!"

Marek joins just about everyone outside of the greater Toronto area in his assumption that the Capitals will dominate the series. Last year, his top-seeded Zurich team was shocked in a first-round sweep by eighth-seeded Bern in the Swiss league postseason.

Babcock planned to advise his squad about the challenges of playoff hockey beforehand and they're "not going to believe me and then it's going to happen". It's also a call to the veteran players such as Leo Komarov, Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk.

Goaltender Frederik Andersen returned to practice Tuesday morning, following a worrying collision over the weekend, and was optimistic about starting the opener.

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The key for Toronto will ultimately be discipline.

Air Canada Centre is home to two professional sports teams: the NBA Raptors and the NHL Maple Leafs.

Toronto said he suffered an upper-body injury on the play, declining to say if he suffered a concussion.

Packed with experience, Washington had only one player making his playoff debut: Brett Connolly, a former first round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In other words, they'll understand once they experience it themselves. I think we're way more prepared for that, maybe, than we were a year ago. Aside from defenseman John Carlson, whose status for Game 1 was uncertain, Washington is also largely healthy after being spared the usual attrition of an 82-game season. I see tonight being a comparable score. Most impressive was their containment of Alex Oveckin and the Washington top line - the Russian captain held to one shots after 40 minutes.

The Capitals are +200 favourites to win the East.

We have the Chicago Blackhawks vs Nashville Predators.

With the Philadelphia Flyers season officially over, the time has come to look back upon the season and analyze what went wrong. Plus, the Penguins are looking to become the first team since the '97 and '98 Red Wings to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.

Obviously, Anisimov's return to the lineup lengthens the Hawks' depth by a significant amount. "I think I feel more like, 'It's go time!' I think the team is in a great place", Moore said. Before his injury, he, Kane and Artemy Panarin were clicking on otherworldly levels.

One way to do that is to go back and look at certain games where the Flyers really needed to pull out wins because they either were holding a lead going into the third, playing an inferior opponent or needed to prove their mettle in a playoff hunt.