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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2017: Getting to know the Capitals' possible playoff opponents

20 April, 2017, 11:54 | Author: Alberta Rodriguez

Auston Matthews is the most notable, setting various franchise records in his first season. "They're a smaller, skilled team compared to us". It's really big. You don't want to go into the playoffs losing seven straight.

The Toronto Maple Leafs' loss to Columbus sends them to Washington to face the Presidents' Trophy-winning Capitals on the brutal Metropolitan Division side of the draw.

Tom Sestito bumped into Leafs goaltender Frederick Anderson at 2:01, making contact with his head and requiring Anderson to leave the ice with some assistance.

After fellow rising star John Gibson joined the lineup and split the net with him, though, the Ducks made the executive decision to protect themselves from the upcoming expansion draft and dealt Andersen to the Leafs.

Backup Curtis McElhinney then entered the game.

During intermissions of the Capitals' regular season finale, the team would check in on how the game between Toronto and Columbus was going, as that would decide Washington's first-round opponent.

The Andersen injury is a potential major concern for obvious reasons: Without him and what he has done in the regular season, the Leafs wouldn't have been fighting for a playoff spot on the final weekend of the 2016-17 schedule.

Two weeks ago in Buffalo, Andersen was forced to the leave a game against the Sabres with an upper-body injury.

The Leafs and Capitals will play Game 1 at 7 p.m. Thursday in Washington. The team has to wait to see if that game matters.

Stuck in a one-for-24 goal funk coming into Saturday's game against the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre, Phil Kessel scored a very Phil-like goal in the first period, his first tally in 11 games.

If you were writing a script about turning the page on a new chapter in Leafs history, it'd involve overcoming those obstacles and winning anyway thanks to three third-period goals, all scored by Leafs rookies.

And if you're a member of Leafs Nation, you would have no doubt of the cruelty of the hockey gods. Nikita Zaitsev took a hit from Nick Foligno in the dying seconds of the first period and he was visibly shaken up. They'll have fresh legs ready to go right from the get-go. But by second intermission, the game was tied. Again, good luck. Holtby led the National Hockey League with nine shutouts and had a.925 save percentage, the best he has recorded in a full season in his career.

It was a member of the last Leafs playoff squad in 2013 who opened the scoring, Kessel beating Andersen for his 23rd goal of the season six minutes in.

The game ended the 18th back-to-back set for the Leafs this season.

There won't be any rest for Sidney Crosby on Saturday night.

Cause for concern? Part of the Maple Leafs problem on Sunday stemmed from the fact they were down to four defencemen for much of the second and third period.

[On missing the playoffs his first season being a motivational factor] "Your first year [in the NHL] you're trying to figure things out, get established and figure out the guys you're playing against".

RED WINGS 4, DEVILS 1: Riley Sheahan had two goals and Henrik Zetterberg scored in his 1,000th National Hockey League game, helping Detroit win at home in a party-like atmosphere for the final game at Joe Louis Arena.

The Leafs could finish as high as second in the Atlantic Division or miss the postseason entirely.

However, Toronto's blue line has been a bit leaky.

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