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From the Branches: Washington does it again

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Second-round exit for the Caps, Ducks advance, Marlies tie series

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Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals - Game Seven Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

In the first of last night’s two Game 7s, the Washington Capitals continued their history of playoff futility and lost, 2-0, to the Penguins.

No matter my feelings on the Capitals themselves (hint: not very positive), watching the mourning of Caps fans tugged at my tender heartstrings. It’s my biggest nightmare scenario for this Maple Leafs team—coming close, over and over, but never managing to win the big prize. The Caps have consistently built good rosters, performed excellently in the regular season, and come to a sputtering finish before reaching the finals. As the Leafs enter the phase of the rebuild that isn’t rebuilding any more, with expectations beyond “gaining experience”, the Capitals are providing a reminder that the hard part isn’t over.

On the other hand, the Capitals losing probably made Tom Wilson sad, and I can’t be upset about that.

Down in Anaheim, Nick Ritchie had the game-winning goal for the Ducks in their 2-1 win over the Oilers to advance. I’m sure we all now regret picking Nylander instead of him now, right? Right.

ICYMI

Stop talking about defence and notice the total lack of centres on the Maple Leafs - Pension Plan Puppets
The Leafs need an upgrade on D, but they also need a club pack of centres.

Sami Kapanen was on hand to watch Kasperi and his Swedish pals win one for the Marlies - Pension Plan Puppets
Sami never stops being a coach or a dad, and he saw that comeback coming. He has a clear-eyed view of the game, which his son seems to share.

Everyone is the worst: Scalping charity tickets - Pension Plan Puppets
In the debut of my new feature "Everyone’s the worst", I look at scumbags who take advantage of charity.

Maple Leafs News

Toronto Maple Leafs: Darren Raddysh Profile and Analysis
Another option for the Toronto Maple Leafs could quite possibly be Darren Raddysh out of the Ontario Hockey League playing for the Erie Otters.

Mirtle: What on earth do the Maple Leafs do with a prospect pool full of wingers? – The Athletic
Mirtle's latest for The Athletic.

Hall Of Fame Goalie Johnny Bower Announced As Grand Marshall For Victoria Day SpeedFest
Hall Of Fame Goalie Johnny Bower Announced As Grand Marshall For Victoria Day SpeedFest

Marlies beat Crunch, Moore scores winner; series tied 2-2 - Article - TSN
Trevor Moore's power-play goal late in the first period stood as the winner as the Toronto Marlies held on for a 3-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday in Game 4 of their second round American Hockey League playoff series.

CrunchCast 23: With special guest Brent Axe - Raw Charge
In which the Marlies’ playoff series with the Crunch is discussed from an opposition perspective.

NHL News

Game 7 Recap: Penguins down Caps 2-0 to advance - PensBurgh
Marc-Andre Fleury pitches a shutout and clutch players Bryan Rust and Patric Hornqvist score goals to push the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Washington Capitals 2-0 in Game 7 of a terrific series.

Ducks eliminate Oilers with 2-1 Game 7 victory - The Globe and Mail
The Ducks will face the Predators in the Western Conference finals

Down Goes Brown: The five nights in NHL history with three (or more) Game Sevens
DGB dives into NHL history for a look at some busy nights in the NHL playoffs.

P.K. Subban of Predators fined $2,000 for diving/embellishment
Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban has been fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment), the National Hockey League announced today.