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Category: Washington-Capitals

Morning Line- Gare Joyce On Alex Ovechkin

It didn’t ring true when Ovechkin said the Capitals should have won Game 3—okay, Washington was poised to win when they went on the 5-on-3 power play but thereafter hung on until they could no longer. When Ovechkin said it came down to a couple of breaks and bounces, he gave his teammates too much credit and the Leafs hardly none at all. No one in the room who heard those words believed it and neither did he.

-Gare Joyce of Sportsnet where you can read more on Ovechkin.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin

Back To The Drawing Board For The Washington Capitals

from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,

“Can we talk people off the ledge?” Jill Sorenson asked early in Comcast SportsNet’s Caps postgame show Monday night, following Washington’s 4-3 overtime loss in Game 3.

Her question made sense. Vast numbers of the network’s voting audience were saying they were “extremely concerned” now that the Capitals had gone down two games to one against the underdog Maple Leafs. Fans online were mostly immolating themselves in a blind rage. The most optimistic of them were saying that even if the Capitals came back to win this series, they would be in trouble against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the next round. There were too many references to Washington’s tortured past to count.

So, uh … can we talk people off the ledge?

Analyst Alan May gave it a go, talking about how the Caps need to move the puck faster, play with more urgency, be crisper in clearing their zone and make fewer mistakes. Then it was Brent Johnson’s turn.

“I can’t take it,” he said. “I can’t force anyone to step off the ledge. I truly can’t. The only reason why is because this isn’t the regular season. How many times can you win the Presidents’ Trophy, over and over? They have the character in the dressing room, but you’re facing the Toronto Maple Leafs, night in, night out. You know their game plan. You know what they’re going to do. You have to hit the drawing board and figure out what you’ve got to do to go against that, to shake them off their game.”

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Afternoon Line- T.J. Oshie

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  Tags: t.j.+oshie

The Toronto Maple Leafs Won Their First Playoff Game Since 2013

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

“Unreal,” said William Nylander as he made his way to the bus on the wrong side of midnight.

All of it.

Kasperi Kapanen’s winning goal in double overtime and the pass of Brian Boyle’s life to create it. Or how about the fact Kapanen won a faceoff against Evgeny Kuznetsov 20 seconds before scoring in what was the first recorded faceoff attempt of his entire NHL career?

The young Leafs came into Verizon Center, a building where the Washington Capitals lost all of nine times this season, and allowed the Presidents’ Trophy winners to lead for a grand total of three minutes 19 seconds.

Over two games.

“Two overtime games,” Boyle said after Saturday’s 4-3 victory. “That’s kind of baptism by fire for some of these guys and that’s a great thing for them. A great opportunity for them to have.”

This was a night where the Leafs could truly start dreaming of pulling off an upset in this series.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line- Mike Babcock On Nicklas Backstrom

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+babcock, nicklas+backstrom

The Leafs Drop Game 1 To The Capitals

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Just as they did for most of the season, the rebuilt version of the Toronto Maple Leafs figuratively thumbed their noses at the doubters and came out flying for their NHL playoff debut.

There was no sign of nerves from the start on Thursday night and for almost two periods and then parts of a third, the young Leafs had the Washington Capitals, the NHL’s best team in the regular season but one with a shaky playoff past, nervous and on the ropes.

But it wasn’t quite good enough. The Washington Capitals fought back from a two-goal disadvantage to subdue a determined group of Leafs with a 3-2 overtime win in the first game of their Eastern Conference first-round series. Tom Wilson won the game with a long shot that eluded Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, who deserved better, at 5:15 of the first overtime period. It was Wilson’s first career playoff goal.

It was a long shot that seemed to catch Andersen off-guard and drifted into the top corner. Yes, it was a whiff but without Andersen’s excellence in the previous 65 minutes and change, the Leafs would not have made it that far. He stopped 41 shots, while his counterpart with the Capitals, Braden Holtby, made 35 saves.

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The Time Is Now For The Washington Capitals

from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,

Washingtonians will never earn the national sympathy so easily given to Cleveland or Chicago, but there’s a pathos in rooting for this hockey team. There are the 10 times the Caps have lost two-game series leads. The two Presidents’ Trophy thrill-rides that both ended in postseason ditches. The litany of Game 7 horrors. Match all that with the 25 years since the Redskins won a Super Bowl, and … well, here’s Sportsnet’s Sean McIndoe, explaining why unaffiliated fans should now cheer for the Caps: “This team has been over a decade in the making,” he wrote. “Their fans deserve to see them win.”

So will they finally do it? Eh, probably not. In the NHL’s absurdist coin-flippity postseason, oddsmakers would certainly make the Caps a major underdog to win it all. And you won’t convince me the past is completely irrelevant until Ovechkin is marching past the Trump International.

But that’s a different question from whether they’ve done just about everything right for two years, and whether they deserve to finish that process with a Cup. They have. And they do.

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The Pressure Is On The Washington Capitals

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

This Maple Leaf playoff edition has no Darcy Tucker, but could have the Pucker Factor in its corner.

That’s coach Mike Babcock’s term for a tightness that a heavily favoured team, such as the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals, experience in certain lower body parts when the whole hockey world expects them to romp in the opening playoff series. The Caps are starting to hear how they’re the best team in the East never to win a Cup, lasting just one series last year and don’t want to think about an upstart team upsetting them.

So the Leafs are embracing that underdog role as they prepare to leave for Game 1 on Thursday, hoping to plant that seed of doubt and have it blossom like the spring cherry trees in D.C.

“That’s the whole key,” Babcock said Tuesday. “If you let (the Caps) get going, then they’re loose and driving. But that ‘pucker factor’ is an unbelievable thing. Until you’ve been the best seed, until you have your whole city expecting, you don’t know what’s that like and how good a defence that is for the underdog.”

Babcock has endured both sides of first-round foibles.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Regular Season Individual Award Winners

NEW YORK (April 10, 2017) – The 2016-17 National Hockey League regular season concluded on Sunday with Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid capturing his first career Art Ross Trophy as the League’s scoring champion, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby claiming his second career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader and Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals winning his first career William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltender who plays at least 25 games for the club allowing the fewest goals. 

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: braden+holtby, connor+mcdavid, sidney+crosby

Video- Alex Ovechkin Reiterates He Will Be Playing In The Olympics In 2018

Ovechkin also believes the NHL has yet to make a final decision.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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