Game 1 provided all the excitement it could have. After scoring 3 unanswered goals, the Capitals completed their comeback in overtime to seal a 3-2 victory over the Maple Leafs.
The overtime game-winning goal came courtesy of Tom Wilson, who is not the Capitals main threat in their lineup:
Babcock on Wilson: “Nothing against Wils because he works hard and all that, but he’s not as big of concern as lot of people on their team.”
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) April 11, 2017
The Maple Leafs challenged the Capitals early on, and will continue to challenge them as the series moves on.
So, what did we learn from Game 1? What will the Capitals have to do in the upcoming stretch of this series to tame the Maple Leafs? What did we learn about the Maple Leafs from Game 1?
The Capitals came out flat against the Maple Leafs. As bad as they played in the first half of the game, they only faced a 2-goal deficit. Slow starts are something that the Capitals need to fix. The Maple Leafs came flying out of the gate, and they were shooting the puck at Braden Holtby from every single angle.
The slow starts need to be cleaned up. If the Capitals plan to advance far in the playoffs and win games, they cannot continue to have slow starts. Experienced playoff teams like Pittsburgh and New York will make the Capitals pay the price for a slow start.
THE LEAFS HAVE GOOD YOUNG PLAYERS
Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitchell Marner performed well for the Leafs last night. These young stars for the Leafs have bright futures and will be stars in the league for years to come.
These players are all highly skilled and quick. They all have quick releases, which gave the Capitals defensemen and Braden Holtby fits in Game 1. The Capitals defensive core played a little too loose in the first half of Game 1, and they will need to take the Leafs top skaters timing and space away on the ice. Limiting the number of giveaways will be paramount as the series moves on.
JUSTIN WILLIAMS IS MR. PLAYOFFS
If there is someone the Capitals can rally around on the bench, it is Justin Williams. He lives for the big moments. Game 1 was no exception, as he scored the first 2 goals of the game for the Capitals.
Williams is a 3-time Stanley Cup Champion and a Conn Smythe Trophy winner. The Capitals brought him in to the organization because he shines in the big playoff moments.
SHATTENKIRK IS AMAZING
Kevin Shattenkirk has become more comfortable in the Capitals system. He was all over the ice in Game 1. He finished with 1 assist and 9 shots on goal in 22 minutes of ice time.
Capitals GM Brian MacLellan brought Shattenkirk in from the Blues at the Trade Deadline to solidify the Capitals blueline. He has given the Capitals powerplay unit a boost and he is chipping in some offense. He can make sharp passes out of the defensive zone and he can also push the puck up the ice when he needs to.
Shattenkirk has a smart mind for the game and he has been an excellent addition to the Capitals blueline. He is one of their best Trade Deadline acquisitions in many years.
By: George Foussekis