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Preview: 2017 NHL playoffs round 1 - Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs Game 6

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Win and go back to Washington. That’s the game plan.

Washington Capitals v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Four
Do we hate each other yet?
Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Game Six of the 2017 NHL Playoffs First Round Series - Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: ACC in Toronto

Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSN, SN, CSN-DC

Opponent SBNation Site: Japer’s Rink

The Brink

The brink of elimination and the brink of tied three-three are the same thing. They just don’t feel the same. From the Capitals’ point of view, it is the brink of wining and the brink of a tie that requires another game. That seems like a better deal, and it is.

But you play the hand you’re dealt.

That is the attitude the Leafs need to have. That’s the attitude the fans need to have. You need to feel this. I need to feel this.

Are we going back to Washington? Can I hear a hell, yes? Hell, yes!

The team has some technical issues to work on. Their power play has gone splat on the wall of the Capitals PK like a bug on the windshield. The Leafs can’t use their standard zone entry tricks, they don’t work.

Way back at the start of this season, I said something along the lines of: the Leafs look like a team with a great plan A, and a not bad plan B, but plan C is written on a card they left in their other pants. And that is what we’re seeing now.

They can score if they can get off a shot. They can get off a shot if they can get in position. They can get in position if they can gain the zone. They can gain the zone if they can get through the neutral zone with speed. They can get through the neutral zone with speed if they can ever, for the love of all that’s holy, get the hell out of the defensive zone without a dump out. One time!

The blue lines are where it’s all coming undone. They get trapped behind their own, they can’t get the puck out, when they do, they can’t get across the other one, and when they are in the offensive zone they look like an elite team. They look like a team that can fool you into thinking they’re that good all the time.

That doesn’t matter. It’s not about that. It’s about them. Sure they went to skate today; they likely ran video; they talked about their zone entries. The coaching staff knows they’re a bit unbalanced in the offensive direction, that they tilt one way. That’s okay. They just have to play like they are that good all the time. Sometimes confidence is believing in your own hype. Buy in! Fake it until you get in sight of Holtby, and then do what you do best!

And our job here is to cheer that on. None of this doom and gloom crap. On April 8, barely over two weeks ago, you got up in the morning not knowing if this team was even going to make the playoffs! They’re in. You’re in! This is the nice thing you thought you couldn’t have.

All the Leafs have to do is play like they know they can win. All you have to do is cheer like you do too. That’s the game plan. We’re going back to Washington.


Lines for the Leafs are not expected to change. Capitals lines are from Game Five.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner

Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Connor Brown

Matt Martin - Brian Boyle - Kasperi Kapanen

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Matt Hunwick

Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev

Martin Marincin - Connor Carrick

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Washington Capitals

Forward Lines

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams

Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller- Tom Wilson

Daniel Winnik - Jay Beagle - Brett Connolly

Defence Pairings

Nate Schmidt - John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik - Kevin Shattenkirk

Goaltenders

Braden Holtby

Phillipp Grubauer


Any news or updates, we will have you covered, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I want you to tell me: Where are the Leafs going?

Poll

Where are the Leafs going?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Into the offensive zone, we hope.
    (29 votes)
  • 60%
    Back to Washington!
    (172 votes)
  • 12%
    As far as they can, as fast as they can.
    (34 votes)
  • 16%
    All the way, baby, all the way!
    (48 votes)
283 votes total Vote Now