First night of playoffs teaches lesson to young Maple Leafs

by Abel Hampton April 15, 2017, 5:38
First night of playoffs teaches lesson to young Maple Leafs

All of the pressure in this series is on Washington, who are in the second year of the two year window to win the Stanley Cup.

Rob Carlin, analyst for Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic who hosts the pre and post game shows for Washington Capitals game broadcasts, joined Ed and Rob to talk about tonight's game one between the Caps and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Let's rewind to the Toronto Maple Leafs series against the Boston Bruins during the 2013 NHL Playoffs when the upstart Leafs headed to TD Garden Arena to take on the battle tested Bruins.

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). It's also more expensive than any first-round series we've tracked in eight years.

The Capitals and Maple Leafs played just three times this season, but all were high-scoring affairs.

"I don't know whether they raised their game or our game fell off", McDavid said. All week long he's been preparing his roster for exactly what playoff hockey has in store. "You watch how good he is, all 200 feet of the ice, at that age, that's probably what jumps out the most - his all-around game". "But he gave us an opportunity, so I don't think you can argue with that".

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom remember what their first taste of the playoffs was like, even though it was nine years ago.

"It's all tight", Carrick said.

Holtby and Andersen went save for save the rest of regulation, flashing their gloves to send the game to overtime.

The Montreal Canadiens found that out firsthand in their shutout loss to the Rangers, and coach Claude Julien thinks "the jitters should be gone by now" in preparation for Game 2 Friday.

What will decide Thursday night's game?

"All the old cliches, time and space, be hard on them", Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen said of stopping Toronto. "They're going to raise their game and we're going to raise our game, and we've got a chance to see how good we can be".

Ever since Brendan Shanahan took over the job of running the Maple Leafs, he's kept a close eye on potential players who were overseas in Russian Federation.

"It's faster", Matthews said.

"People have been saying, 'You can't dip your toe in the water, you have to hit the ground running, '" Matthews told the Toronto Sun.

The Maple Leafs have lost the last five straight playoff games that have gone into overtime. "It takes all the clutter out of maybe the whole situation because it can be a lot of noise and clutter all around and then what you need is a calming voice in the dressing room and sometimes those experienced guys can do that for you".

"I've been away from the team a little bit so I think that's the biggest thing is feeling everything out and getting back into the swing of things as far as the passing, the breakouts, all that kind of stuff", Carlson said.

"These playoff years don't come around every year", said defenseman Morgan Rielly. Tom Wilson scored 5:15 into extra period for a 3-2 victory in Game 1 on Thursday night. Some of the Sports Channels they have access to include Fox Sport 1 and 2, NBCSN.

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