The Washington Capitals are moving on to the second round

  • The Washington Capitals are moving on to the second round

The Washington Capitals are moving on to the second round

Ovechhin seemed to suffer no after-effects.

Washington coach Barry Trotz said he was going to keep his opinion of the Kadri hit to himself, adding he was "quite concerned" when the "face of this franchise" went down like he did. "We don't know what is going to be available (over the summer), this is a unique year with expansion, we don't know what can and can't be done". "The other night when [Roman Polak's] done for the year, our bench thought it should've been a major and they thought it should be no penalty".

Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Anderson had a rough start to his tenure in Toronto, but picked up his game in November and never looked back. "Then you get into hypotheticals". They are giving up way too much zone time - the result of weak clearing attempts, turnovers and losing battles on the boards - and they have relied way too much on Marc-Andre Fleury to bail them out.

Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock agreed with Trotz.

"We didn't push them", said Babcock, talking about most of the third period and the overtime. "I agree with him 100 percent". We finally have things figured on like the colossal messes that are the Colorado Avalanche or the Vancouver Canucks.

"We still have a ways to go". This is another step in a process that can only be accelerated so much by the team's young skill and speed.

It has been a close series with each game decided by one goal and four of the five decided in overtime. This series also showed us the Leafs still have some issues to work out on the defensive end which looked very shaky at times.

Toronto managed its big improvement despite dressing at least seven rookies most games - a credit to Babcock. "You expect us to win more games and with that comes playoffs and winning in playoffs".

"We believe in ourselves". I think me and him enjoy it, you guys enjoy it, fans enjoy it. It's been a great series to be a part of. "But after that we don't panic, we stay focused, we stay the same, we stay on the same program that we want to do".

The Leafs made a 26-point leap in the standings during the regular season as they jumped from last place in the NHL to the post-season and then a near take-down of the best team in hockey.

Neither team scored until Auston Matthews beat Braden Holtby 7:45 into the third period. His spot was taken by Ovechkin, who double-shifted the rest or the way.

Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin also had some kind words for the upstart Maple Leafs. "So, he didn't see the ice after that last one".

It can be argued Andersen gives the Leafs nearly as much hope for the future as any of the rookies. "That's something, mentally, you have to go through a little bit because every team is going, "We've got nothing to lose" and we're on the other side going, 'We've got everything to lose'".

"This group took all of us and got us all excited", Lamoriello said. "It's just awesome that we were able to". I had some great questions that came in and chose to stick with one theme in particular.

"I didn't think the power play was bad until last game", Babcock said Saturday. That matters more to the respective fan bases than players, only a few of whom are still around from 2009.

In short, they left us wanting more.

The game was a stalemate for almost 50 minutes, as the two teams exchanged chance after chance but could not solve the goaltenders, who were both playing out of their minds.

By the all-star break, the Leafs found themselves in the playoff race following a 19-game run where they went 12-3-4.

Error! There was an error processing your request. At the end of the day, I've got no choice.