MAPLE LEAFS at CAPITALS
SERIES TIED 0-0
7:00 pm (CBC)
At first glance, the task may look daunting to Maple Leaf fans. The number one seed hosting the number eight seed in the Eastern Conference.
Does anybody remember the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs? Los Angeles squeaked into the post season as the number eight seed and raised the Stanley Cup as NHL champions. What was more impressive is that the Kings pulled it off in just 20 post season games.
There is a case to be made that the Toronto Maple Leafs can repeat history. Andrew Walker (@FAN590Walker) is the host of the aptly named Andrew Walker Show on SN 590 The Fan. In conversation with LeafsHub today, Walker shares his thoughts with Leafs Nation . . .
“Now that the puck has dropped on the postseason, I hope most leafs fans thoughts echo my own, in as disappointing as it was not facing Ottawa, those feelings are long gone. They did it, they made the playoffs, and now face no pressure whatsoever. Any experience gained or lesson learned is such bonus growth for this young team, and they should be pleased as punch for the opportunity.”
Echoing the theory of what happened to Los Angeles in 2012, Walker continued with . . .
“Last night, Tanner Glass, Joel Edmunson, and Melker Karlsson scored game winners.
Playoffs are strange, anything can happen. Puck posession? PDO? Meh. Did you find a way to win the game, deservedly so or not? Playoffs are about desperation, goaltending, confidence, and some timely bounces.
Leafs are in tough, because this should be the Caps year. But, it’s a comfort to know stranger things have happened. Leafs were a better team than the Habs crew who upset the Caps in 7 with Halak. As the puck drops in game one…. as long as something good happens early…Why not the Leafs?”
Having said that, Washington did finish on top of the entire league. All the pressure is on Alex Ovechkin, Barry Trotz and the rest of the Washington cast. For the Leafs it is about gaining valuable playoff experience and enjoying the moment. That could be dangerous for Washington, given the talent on the Leafs roster and the coaching behind the bench.
The only edge Washington will carry into the game will be their defense. The Caps allowed 60 fewer goals than the Leafs in the regular season. Also a complication for the Leafs defense in the announcement that Nikita Zaitsev will not be available for game one. Rumours initially were circulating of a sprained ankle, however, officially he is listed as day to day with an upper body injury.
What do you think Leafs Nation? Can history repeat itself? Will Zaitsev’s injury provide the Caps the edge they need?
As always, please discuss among yourselves.
Projected Line Combinations
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Hyman — Matthews — Nylander
Komarov — Kadri — Brown
van Riemsdyk — Bozak — Marner
Martin — Boyle — Kapanen
Rielly — Hunwick
Gardiner — Polak
Marincin — Carrick
Ovechkin — Backstrom — Oshie
Johansson — Kunetsov — Williams
Connolly — Eller — Burakovsky
Winnick — Beagle — Wilson
Alzner — Carlson
Orlov — Niskanen
Orpik — Shattenkirk