Leafs' series against Capitals shines light on Toronto's bright future

Leafs' series against Capitals shines light on Toronto's bright future

Leafs' series against Capitals shines light on Toronto's bright future

Marcus Johansson came through to help the Washington Capitals get another big overtime win in a series that had five go games go beyond regulation.

Five of the six games went into overtime, with the Capitals winning three of them. They wouldn't or couldn't leave - not on this overtime night, not in this playoff series ending with the Washington Capitals, not quickly, not yet, anyhow.

Now the 27-year-old goalie looks fine-tuned just in time to face his biggest challenge yet, starting Thursday when he and the Capitals host the defending champions for Game 1 of their second-round series.

Last week I said I'd take the Pittsburgh Penguins whenever they are underdogs and while I don't feel quite as strongly about the Capitals I'm going with the Presidents'-Trophy-winning underdogs tonight.

Follow Brian Tinsman and 106.7 The Fan on Twitter. So you get a hit or you take a hit, it doesn't matter.

"We didn't push them", said Babcock, talking about most of the third period and the overtime.

Within about 10 seconds of the goal being scored that squashed their dreams, the sheer disappointment of the enthusiastic crowd that had just witnessed its team lose in overtime at Air Canada Centre abruptly turned to cheers. It also was terrific to have the Leafs out in the open air - and beating the Red Wings 5-4 in overtime - during that January 1 centennial classic game. "We've handled that a lot better this year versus last year - that's where I like where our team is going in terms of the growth and finding the next level in maturity". "I'm just happy they went in".

When asked what the young core of this team learned from their its playoff series together, Kadri got straight to the point: "A lot", he said.

Combine all these elements - the efforts of the young players, the raised-games of the veterans, the consistency in net - and it shouldn't have been a surprise that the Leafs went from 30th overall in 2015-16 to securing a post-season spot in the Eastern Conference. Ottawa won a playoff series for the first time since 2013, thanks to him.

Kunitz, 37, hasn't played since being diagnosed with a "longer term" lower-body injury following a victory over the New York Rangers on March 31.

Tuukka Rask made 26 saves for the Bruins, who got goals from Drew Stafford and Patrice Bergeron.

That was Matthews' 44th goal in his first 88 National Hockey League games, and he finished his season with goals in four consecutive playoff games. If you can't-for example-bring in the right type of player like Brian Boyle, then you do nothing. Beyond him, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel have both been phenomenal, and still lesser known players in Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel have been scoring goals at a high rate.

Answer: Not overreacting. What I mean by that is they shouldn't get carried away with trades or anything of that nature. Schmidt had two assists going in, and he was leading the team with a plus-four. Is this a time for excessive patience or an honest evaluation of what the team needs? Toronto raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first period of Game 1 and kept it close every step of the way against Washington, a team gunning for its first Stanley Cup this spring. "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".

"He came up huge, and that's what Braden Holtby does", Trotz said.

As OT began, you could see how hungry the Capitals were to win the game. It stayed that way until Bergeron tied it about two minutes into the third.

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