Game 5 Preview: Maple Leafs @ Capitals


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The Capitals fought hard and did exactly what they needed to do to get out of Toronto with a win in Game 4. Now with the series deadlocked at two games apiece, the best of seven series turns into a best of three. The teams will return to DC for Game 5 on Friday night. Puck drop is at 7 PM

TORONTO
Those pesky Maple Leafs almost came back to tie the game last night. With a goal in the last minute, with an extra attacker on the ice, it was still too little too late as Washington escaped Toronto with a split in the two games. With a split in both Washington and Toronto, look for this young Maple Leafs team to continue to try to put pressure on the top team in the NHL. They may be a young team, but veteran coach Mike Babcock has done a good job keeping them focused on the task at hand.

Trailing 2-0, Zach Hyman scored in the first period to cut the deficit in half for his first goal of the playoffs. After the Caps scored twice by one of their biggest X-factors (more on that later), the Leafs were staring at a 4-1 deficit after the first. In the second period, James van Riemsdyk netted his second goal of the playoffs. Auston Matthews scored his second goal of the postseason to bring the Leafs within one in the third period. After the Caps got a goal waved off, Toronto continued to keep the pressure on. Washington would later get an insurance goal to put them up 5-3 and the Maple Leafs had to pull goaltender Frederik Anderson late in the third for an extra attacker. Tyler Bozak would get a score in the final minute, but it wasn’t enough.

Toronto outshot Washington 34-27 and seemed to be getting all the calls in their favor as well as lucky bounces. Regardless, they’re tied and now the pressure is on both teams.

WASHINGTON
The Capitals fought hard, didn’t let adversity strike them, and now have regained their home ice advantage. With the city already riding high with wins from the Wizards and the Nationals, expect the crowd to be extra loud and they won’t need 18, 500 cowbells to make that happen. On Monday, Caps Nation was panicking, but on Friday night expect those same fans to be loud and boisterous.

Several things pointed to the Caps’ win on Wednesday. Like Game 3, they got off to the start that they needed thanks to the top line, but the bottom six forwards contributed, too. T.J. Oshie got it started with his first goal of the playoffs and Alex Ovechkin followed shortly after with his third tally of the postseason. After the Maple Leafs got one back, Tom Wilson made a game-saving stop at the net after the puck sat just above the goal line sneaking under Braden Holtby and hustled to the other side of the ice to deflect Lars Eller’s shot in. Wilson got his second goal of the night off a great feed from Andre Burakovsky.

Like Game 3, there was a 5-on-3, but for the other side. The Maple Leafs ended the second period on the power play and came into the third with the man advantage. The Capitals were the ones to get revenge this time around. The Caps would strike, but the goal was waved off due to a controversial goaltender interference call. Oshie would later get the insurance tally Washington needed, giving the Caps a 5-3 lead. They allowed a goal near the end so that’s what made Oshie’s strike important.

ICE SHAVINGS

  • Alex Ovechkin scored a power play goal on Wednesday at Toronto, extending his goal streak to three games. This marks the fourth time in Ovechkin’s playoff career he has recorded a goal streak of three games or longer.
  • Nicklas Backstrom earned two assists on Wednesday at Toronto, marking his second consecutive multi-point game.
  • Tom Wilson scored two goals in the first period on Wednesday at Toronto, marking his first career multi-point game in the regular season and playoffs.
  • T.J. Oshie scored two goals on Wednesday at Toronto, marking his third career postseason multi-goal game and his second in Washington. (4/28/16 vs. Penguins, hat trick).
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 to win the first round series 4-1. They’ll get the winner of this one.

LAST TIME WE MET

 

RELATED READING:
Capitals versus Maple Leafs – Stats From The First Four Games
Barry Trotz and The Balance Of Ice Times
Tom Wilson: Hero in Washington, Villain in Toronto
Capitals Beat Maple Leafs 5-4, Tie up Series
Capitals Fall to Maple Leafs 4-3 (OT)
Leafs Stun Caps 4-3 in Double OT, Tie the Series at 1-1
Capitals Beat Leafs in OT 3-2, Tom Wilson Notches Game Winner

By Michael Marzzacco

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