Miércoles, 24 Abril, 2019

Capitals counting on Braden Holtby in Game 5 on Friday

The crowd reacts after Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry sunk a basket in the last seconds of second half NBA playoff basketball action against the Milwaukee Bucks in Toronto Leafs try to embrace the opportunity of now in Game 5
Montrelle Montesinos | 23 Abril, 2017, 20:28

He knows his Toronto Maple Leafs aren't out of their first-round series against the Washington Capitals despite being down 3-2 going into Game 6 back at home on Sunday.

Toronto's Nazem Kadri, left, landed a controversial hit on Washington's Alex Ovechkin during the Leaf's 2-1 overtime loss to the Capitals in Game 5 on Friday.

No one is suggesting it is Ovechkin's fault the Capitals have never made it past the second round. That led to another overtime and Williams' heroics. Game 6 will be played in Toronto on Sunday at 7:00 pm ET. Washington has two more shot attempts and six more shots on goal over the entire series if you take power plays out. But the Leafs are just 3-for-17 in this series with man advantage, and in a series in which all five games have been decided by one goal, that's an area of concern for Toronto. That created a question mark in each net, as both Andersen and Holtby struggled at times.

Tom Wilson was the Caps' hero in Games 1 and 4. And when it comes to big games and memorable moments, there might not be anyone better in the league than Justin Williams.

The Capitals are 4-1 in their last 5 road games, 39-13 in their last 52 games playing on 1 days rest and 36-16 in their last 52 vs.

And that is what happened Friday, as Holtby made a handful of important saves before stiffing the Maple Leafs throughout the third period. In addition, Andersen has helped the team get their two OT wins with the saves he has been able to make. "I think we take some positives from this game and move on to the next one".

"When you have someone down and you have a chance to step on him, you step on him", Babcock said. He said he wasn't anxious at all, felt no pain afterward and was glued to the TV in the locker room when Oshie scored. However, as the Leafs saw on Wednesday, they can't expect to come back from early deficits. That burned them against Pittsburgh in the playoffs a year ago, and I think that's part of what you're seeing at even strength against the Leafs. Ovechkin also skated toward the Toronto bench and offered some thoughts. Ovi! chants at Verizon Center. He landed on his left left and was down on the ice for several minutes and had to be helped to the dressing room. Ovechkin left the ice without putting weight on the leg but returned for the second period and said he felt no pain and was "all good".

Ovechkin was asked how he felt immediately after the hit and simply said, "Not anxious". Ovechkin has delivered a handful of big hits on the forecheck throughout the series. Ovechkin, while he certainly had an off year for him, still scored 33 goals, and he's always risky.

Kadri was assessed a tripping minor, and the Capitals T.J. Oshie scored on the power play that followed.

Ovechkin drew a roar from the crowd as he stepped on to the ice after the first intermission and hit Jake Gardiner on his first shift back. “They are going to come with their absolute best, and were going to have to come with our absolute best game.”. Just over a minute in Justin Williams buried a shot from the slot to win the game.

The score was tied 1-1 going into the third period, although the Capitals can thank their penalty killers for keeping it that way.

The two second-period kills were all the more impressive considering the two penalties. Where they have succeeded in doing so is on special teams, where the Leafs were especially inept in Game 5, going 0-for-4 on the power play. "Sure, the Leafs are young, and they've played that card well, but they're pretty damn talented".

And so it is going into Game 5 Friday night in Washington.

Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock agreed with Trotz. Their perennial playoff hopes have been routinely dashed, and an opening round series against an upstart Leafs team is not something they could afford to overlook. Washington's regular-season rate was 8.49 and is 13.99 per 60 in this series.

I really don't like Washington being such a big favorite in a game, knowing their history of playoff letdowns, but I have to believe the Capitals will come to play tonight.