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Category: Washington-Capitals

The Leafs Were Not Good Enough Last Night

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

The scoreboard read 5-4 and the landmines were scattered everywhere.

About the only victory the Toronto Maple Leafs could claim on Wednesday night is that they managed to pack up and leave Air Canada Centre without stepping on any of them.

There were several different ways a Game 4 loss could have been chalked up as an aw-shucks near-miss, from the 19-3 shots advantage over Washington in the third period to the fact they came within a botched 1-on-4 clearing attempt from forcing overtime.

But the Leafs instead took a deeper level of self-reflection and thus avoided lying to themselves about what really happened here.

“For sure, it is a lost opportunity,” said head coach Mike Babcock. “It doesn’t feel like it – it is. I think Game 1 in their building you could say that, but I didn’t feel like that, I just felt that was a confidence builder for our team. You’re playing a team, they’re the best team in hockey and here you are.

“I thought today was the first time that maybe we weren't scared enough of them and it looked like it because our competition level wasn’t good enough.”

continued

Highlights are below...

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

Video- Washington/Toronto, You Make The Call

Washington did win the game 5-4 over Toronto, but what do you think of this no goal call?

 

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

Video- It Is Not Often The Same Guy Makes A Big Save Then Scores

Tom Wilson just did, Caps up 4-1 after the 1st.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tom+wilson

Time For The Washington Capitals To Show Up And Play

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,.

Call it an overreaction if you will, but this is it. The Alex Ovechkin-era Capitals, perennial playoff underachievers, need to show us what they're truly made of.

"You're going to see our best game tomorrow," Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said Tuesday.

In a series pitting a massively experienced and deeply talented squad versus a wet-behind-the-ears but also very talented team, what's puzzling is that it's the graybeards making more mental mistakes. It's the older team looking like it is lacking confidence, the veteran squad easily rattled by any change in momentum.

Is there just too much riding on this season, which long ago was scripted as the last kick at the can for this roster?

Said a rival Eastern Conference head coach of free agents such as T.J. Oshie, Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk, "if they don't win it this year, that group is going to be broken up. It seems like they're weighted down. It's almost like they've got to have a come-to-Jesus moment. Maybe it happens with their backs against the wall here. Maybe they get through that and play now. But it seems like that team has the weight of the world on them."

more

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

Forecast, Not Sunny In Washington

from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,

Anyhow, let’s go now to Scott Oake, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. broadcaster who has twice in this series riled up Capitals wingers with provocative intermission questions. Is he feeling sunny about Washington’s chances?

“At this point in this series I think we can conclude that they are crumbling under the weight of their playoff history,” Oake said Tuesday on the “Jeff Blair Show.” “The seed of doubt is in their minds. How can it not be? They’ve never gone past the second round with Alexander Ovechkin. We showed a stat last night that underlined how difficult the Caps have made it on themselves in the playoffs. Now, these are the President’s Trophy winners from each of the last two years, and yet six of [their last] nine playoff games have gone to overtime, and they’ve won two of them....

Not very sunny! Or how about TSN’s Darren Dreger, who appeared on Toronto’s 1050.

“I don’t care what anyone says: I’m certainly willing to give the Toronto Maple Leafs the credit that the Leafs deserve, no doubt about it, but I think the Washington Capitals also need to embrace reality,” Dreger said. “And the reality is, they haven’t even come close to being as good as they should be. … I’m commenting from afar here, but I watched that game pretty closely. Sometimes it’s just the intangible, and the intangible is the want to win. The overtime winner, I  mean, that’s just a spectacular play, isn’t it? … So maybe that’s the difference, quite frankly, that type of play, where there just seems to be a will and a relentlessness from the Toronto Maple Leafs that isn’t yet being matched by the Washington Capitals. Maybe that’s it.”

more from both plus other remarks too...

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

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.”

continued

Watch the game highlights below...

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

Afternoon Line- T.J. Oshie

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  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.

continued

Below, a few related videos...

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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

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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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