Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen has been excellent, stopping 88 shots - the most saves of any goalie through the first two games of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will have one of their top defenders back in the lineup for a pivotal Game 3 against the Washington Capitals. The importance of a slight disparity like that can be debated, but the Maple Leafs' 61 percent edge in a game that lasted more than 90 minutes took a toll on the Capitals on Saturday night, especially as they were attempting to rally from a deficit for most of the game. The Capitals were a 55-win team in the regular season, but trailed Game 1 early before coming back to win in overtime, and then had no finish around the net when it mattered most in Game 2. With that in mind, the ability to create noise in the first two games of the series and cause some uncertainty in the minds of the Capitals was already a win in itself for the Leafs.
Will the Washington Capitals avoid a letdown performance in Game 2 of their series when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7PM ET?
Perhaps prompted by the shouts of Kasperi Kapanen, Brian Boyle checked his blindspot (to make sure that it was, in fact, the "higher percentage play") and swung a feathered backhand drop pass to the cutting rookie, who popped the overtime victor inside the post Braden Holtby vacated to track Boyle.
Ducks 3, Flames 2: Ryan Getzlaf scored the tiebreaking power-play goal with 4:46 to play on a freaky deflection off Lance Bouma's skate, and Anaheim took a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
"I've got a lot of energy for sure", Kapanen said.
"I think Rielly's been as good as he's been since I got here the last two games", Babcock said.
"We probably didn't deserve to win the first one", Orpik said, and ain't that the truth?
Despite having nine players making their playoff debut, Toronto got early goals by rookie Mitch Marner and Jake Gardiner. "They're a young team that really comes at us fast".More news: 8-year-old suspect in toddler's home day care death
The Leafs certainly played hard, as they jumped out ahead of the Capitals, 2-0.
Washington again found itself "chasing", as Trotz put it, after defenceman Morgan Rielly scored on a power play with less than a minute left in the second period. They're going to have their surges, they're going to score some goals, the bounces are going to go their way sometimes, and we've got to work for our bounces.
Trotz also offered an unsolicited opinion on the Leafs' battered blue line, which lost another piece, Roman Polak, to a gruesome ankle injury in the second period Saturday and, as a result, had to finish the game with five D-men.
Instead it's been Matt Hunwick and Martin Marincin who have been a saving grace for Toronto.
"We expect a long series against Toronto", veteran forward Justin Williams said, "and we'll battle as long as we have to". "Everyone in here has been great, all the younger guys helping and teaching us". There were points Saturday night when hockey extending into Easter Sunday morning seemed probable, when the most significant problem afoot was the fact that Metro was closing at midnight, and Verizon Center went from some version of insane to comparatively subdued. That's why we play 82 games, to be in this moment.
Think they'll be ready now? I don't think (the possibility of running around on the ice) is the case. But apart from the physical aspect of staying sharp, there's also the mental game and that can be just as much of a grind. The goal will be to establish themselves as one of the league's best teams over the next few seasons. But going down 2-1 or 3-1 is a different situation for the Capitals, who despite constantly having their name etched on the Presidents' Trophy have gone nearly two decades without reaching the third round of the playoffs.
Now everyone else realizes that, too. "There's no easy rounds".
Zaitsev skated at Air Canada Centre on Sunday afternoon and either he or Alexey Marchenko will get the nod for Game 3 on Monday night. In Washington, Williams has been "Steady Eddie" as Wilson put it: 46 goals and 54 assists over two seasons.