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From the Branches: Bonne chance!

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Last night the Solar Bears stole the first playoff victory from a strong foe. Leafs can do this too.

Vancouver Canucks v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images


DID YOU KNOW that the Solar Bears won their first playoff game last night, against the “overdog” Florida Everblades?

Doherty, Solar Bears steal game one from Everblades | Don Money
"With a 10-4 regular season record against their in-state rivals, the Everblades certainly were expected to come out like gangbusters in the first period but the opening frame started in a much more defensive mode as neither team could muster up a lot of scoring chances."

Series preview: Underdog Solar Bears ready for Everblades | Don Money
"If anyone figures that this series is cut and dried in favor of the squad from southwest Florida, they have not met the boys from Central Florida."

Playoff berths for Maple Leafs, Raptors mean boost in Toronto economy | Canadian Press
"For the first time in 15 years, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors are playoff bound at the same time, providing a rare opportunity for hundreds of business owners in the city hoping to cash in."

Upstart Maple Leafs look a lot like Capitals of years past | Washington Times
"Led by center Auston Matthews, the rookie with the most goals since Alex Ovechkin, Toronto will bring scoring, speed, and inexperience to Verizon Center Thursday, a bit like the Capitals did back in 2007-08, the first year in the Ovechkin era in which they made the playoffs."

Toronto Maple Leafs Defence Will be in Tough Without Nikita Zaitsev | TOTT
"The absence of Nikita Zaitsev will not only force the Toronto Maple Leafs defence to adjust on the fly, it will also thrust them into an uncomfortable situation."

Auston Matthews’ would-be shadow: Washington Capitals ask Jay Beagle to hound star Toronto Maple Leafs rookie | National Post
“Those top two lines have a ton of skill and they can score a lot of goals,” said Leafs fourth-line centre Brian Boyle, “but the bottom two lines can check really hard and they can get you on the run in your own end if they want to cycle down low and wear down your D. They’ve got some good depth.”

What's going on in Washington today?

Well, aside from all this nonsense...

The Narrative: Gamesmanship, Man Games Lost and Wisdom vs. Youth | Japers Rink
"The Leafs are an incredibly young and inexperienced team. The Caps, chock full of elderly guys in their late-20s, have more years - and a lot more playoff experience in their corner. How much does that matter?"

Red Hot Chili Peppers rock Alex Ovechkin jersey during Verizon Center concert | RMNB
"The Washington Capitals are opening their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs a day late. This is due to a previously scheduled concert at Verizon Center headlined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Wednesday night, the Peppers said they were sorry in the most Peppers way possible. The band saluted the Capitals during their encore."

Look, the Capitals actually deserve to win the Stanley Cup this time | WaPo
"But my bosses requested a big-picture column to advance this latest postseason adventure, and there’s not much more you can say about the most complete Capitals team we’ve ever seen."

Reasons for Capitals fans to be optimistic, and sobering facts to bring you back to Earth | The best Caps writer, Isabelle Khurshudyan
"Here are five reasons to be optimistic about the team’s Stanley Cup chances, and because this is the Capitals, the five reasons to be pessimistic."

The Capitals’ third line believes it can again produce like it did midseason | WaPo
"From Jan. 5 to Feb. 9, the line of Brett Connolly, Lars Eller and Andre Burakovsky registered at least one point in all but three contests. The searing production lasted for 18 games. Then Burakovsky went to block a shot against the Detroit Red Wings, the puck found his right hand, and the thermometer went from high to chillingly low."


Who will win Game 1?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Washington Caps
    (59 votes)
  • 68%
    Maple Leafs
    (128 votes)
187 votes total Vote Now