With the task at hand already daunting enough, the Leafs will be forced to start the series without banged-up defenceman Nikita Zaitsev, who won’t play. As one of the team’s more senior members – and as someone with 49 games of playoff experience, including 24 games last season with the San Jose Sharks – Polak will be looked to as a steadying influence on a young Buds group. Not a lot of space out there, not a lot of going being scored.
The first two games of the best-of-seven series take place at Verizon Centre in Washington, D.C.
Nineteen-year old Calder trophy possibility Mitch Marner, born in the greater Toronto area, thinks his first playoff experience will mean “A lot of excitement, real fun” and adds that he thinks the whole city is behind them.
The Russian superstar had 14 points in his final 15 regular-season games and contributed with some big hits and plays that don’t show up on the scoresheet. This team is absolutely lethal on the power play and the penalty-kill was top-10 in the league, so if it comes down to a special teams battle, Toronto can hang with the similarly-skilled Capitals.
“I listened to Babs’s comments”, Trotz said.
“Babcock: “. lots of young teams have won so let’s just find a way”.
Van Riemsdyk recalled wisdom he gleaned from perennial playoff performer and former Flyers teammate Chris Pronger.
The Flames have failed to win a regular-season game at the home of the Anaheim Ducks since 2004, a losing streak of 25 games. After getting doubled up by the Leafs in Toronto, the Flyers faced yet another a crucial late-season matchup in Boston and, once again, couldn’t pull out a win.
Williams tallied two goals in a playoff game for the fourth time in his career and the veteran forward powered Washington’s offense (with Kevin Shattenkirk’s help) through regulation. Holtby will snag the Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP), becoming the first netminder to win the award since the Kings’ Johnathan Quick did so in 2012.
“There’s only so many times you get kicked before you fight back and you overcome”.
Forsberg had only two goals and two assists past year.
It gets thin beyond that.
A free agent signing out of Russian Federation last summer, the 25-year-old played a huge role as a rookie.
One way to do that is to go back and look at certain games where the Flyers really needed to pull out wins because they either were holding a lead going into the third, playing an inferior opponent or needed to prove their mettle in a playoff hunt. Matthews is the California-native Leaf’s rookie phenom who scored 40 goals this season, making him only the second 40-goal scorer for the Leafs in the last 20 years, and one of a handful since the last time the Leafs won a Stanley cup, in 1967.
Washington entered the playoffs as the Presidents’ Trophy victor (121 points), matching them up against Montreal, a No. 8 seed. We know the guys on the other side are hungry to accomplish something this year, as are we.
Washington’s march to the Stanley Cup begins on Thursday.
The Rat Factor – Babcock has endeavored to match Nazem Kadri and Leo Komarov against the opposition’s top line throughout the season.
Nikita Zaitsev was hoping to make his National Hockey League postseason debut on Thursday. Even though pundits are giving them little chance to upset the Capitals, there is the belief inside the locker room that they can perhaps surprise some people. Unlike Washington, a defeat for Toronto won’t be all that disappointing, judged in the bigger picture of their long-term plan for Cup contention.
“I don’t know whether they raised their game or our game fell off”, McDavid said. “But he gave us an opportunity, so I don’t think you can argue with that”.
It’s clear that even Frederik Andersen didn’t expect the shot to come from Wilson. He posted an.899 save percentage in seven first round games and was replaced by Jonas Hiller for the conference semifinal against Los Angeles.
There is still too much work to be done, Brendan Shanahan said, in a lengthy interview. “There’s no letdown games”.