First night of playoffs teaches lesson to young Maple Leafs

First night of playoffs teaches lesson to young Maple Leafs

Since the Washington Capitals first made the playoffs with Alex Ovechkin on their roster (2007-08), they've been the standard-bearer for regular-season success, holding the second-best point percentage in the National Hockey League (behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have won the Stanley Cup twice). Disappointing to Maple Leafs fans, but not shocking. Much has been made of the postseason experience disparity in the series, Washington teeming with it compared to the young Maple Leafs. I guarantee you're going to get a better game from Toronto and I know you're going to get a better game from the Washington Capitals. I just think it's the playoffs and our big thing is we've got to get a game here because we've got to keep it tight so they stay tight.

In the past decade, Washington has won seven division titles but hasn't advanced beyond the conference semifinals. With the way his season has gone, expect more from this 24-year-old by the end of the playoffs. "In saying that, they've got a lot of players that we'll concern ourselves with more". "It's our job to make those demons as hard to deal with as possible". Nicklas Backstrom led the team in points with 86 while Alex Ovechkin and T.J. The Washington Capitals have won 10 of their last 11 games when allowing three or less goals. If you're Auston Matthews (18 minutes), Mitch Marner (game-opening goal) or William Nylander (four of Toronto's 37 shots on goal), just play.

Tyler Bozak swept around the net and centred to an uncovered Marner, then several unforced errors later, Kevin Shattenkirk's poor clear went right to Gardiner.

But they didn't win, and that let the Capitals off the hook. We gave them easy access to the puck, I thought, for the first 30 minutes.

"I'm so privileged to have such good support groups in both cities and obviously lots of happy family and friends", he added, "and lot of people who have hopped off the Leafs' bandwagon onto the Caps' bandwagon the last couple of years". "So when you're dealing with them it's the exact same thing". "You could just tell the physicality and the speed".

"We showed we could play with these guys", Andersen said.

Holtby and Andersen went save for save the rest of regulation, flashing their gloves to send the game to overtime. He finished the regular season 33-16-14 with a 2.67 GAA.

Toronto is expected to be without injured defenseman Nikita Zaitsev again because of an upper-body injury. Being down 2-0 early in a game when you're the favorite is tough. "I think it's awesome for the guys in this room, especially all the rookies".

There's time to get going-anything short of 15 more wins this postseason would be a disappointment for the Capitals-but not unlimited time. After Gardiner's goal, they stepped up their game. Andersen was 1-0-1 with a 4.00 GAA.

The Capitals celebrate Williams' game-tying goal. They eliminated Nashville during two of those title-winning runs, including in 2015 when the Predators blew leads of 3-0 in Game 1 and 3-1 in Game 6 of their first-round series. He picked up two goals to tie the game.

"Didn't like that we wouldn't shoot the puck", Babcock said.

It speaks to the youth and talent of the Maple Leafs that Rielly is rarely mentioned as one of their young up-and-coming players anymore.

"Everything's about momentum", Williams said.

Dealing with the noise at the start of the game at the Verizon Center and the aftermath of the Caps' comeback turned out to be more manageable than many thought.

Get daily prep sports headlines from the Gwinnett Daily Post staff delivered to your email.

Error! There was an error processing your request.