Matthews nominated for Calder, Game 4 was reality check for Leafs
April 20, 2017, 7:11 PM ET [25 Comments]
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Auston Matthews has been named one of the three finalists for the Calder Trophy. The 19-year-old center was the first overall selection in the 2016 NHL Draft and led the Maple Leafs in scoring with 69 points (40 goals, 29 assists).
The Scottsdale, AZ native broke the Leafs rookie record for goals (previously held by Wendel Clark) and points (previously held by Peter Ihnacak).
Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine and Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski was named finalists for the league’s rookie of the year award, which will be revealed in Las Vegas on June 21.
The Toronto Maple Leafs repeated some of the same mistakes they made in their overtime win in Game 3, but could not overcome them in a 5-4 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 4 of their best-of-seven round series on Wednesday.
The Leafs fell behind early once again, as TJ Oshie opened the scoring and Alex Ovechkin hammered a one-timer on the power-play past Frederik Andersen less than five minutes into the game.
Zach Hyman responded in short order with a deflection past Caps goalie Braden Holtby, but Tom Wilson put Toronto in a big hole with a pair of goals that made it 4-1 and sapped the energy and excitement from the Air Canada Centre crowd.
The Leafs attempted to climb back into the game, with James van Riemsdyk cutting the lead to 4-2 with the man advantage, but failed to narrow the gap further early in the third on a lengthy five-on-three power play.
Auston Matthew made it 4-3 with eight minutes left in regulation, but Oshie quickly responded with his second of the game to put Washington back up by two.
Tyler Bozak scored in the waning seconds, but the Caps held on to take Game 4, even the series and regain home-ice advantage.
“We weren't very good; we weren't ready to play. They were more competitive than us at the start.” Babcock said following the game. “In some ways, it was nice that we were able to score goals and get ourselves back into the game, but we didn't play near as good as we had to or needed to. We talked a lot about how the game was going to be today but we didn't look like any of that sunk in. We weren't prepared.”
Toronto has great offensive talent that gives them the ability to erase deficits, but playing from behind in the playoffs when goals are hard to come by eventually is a recipe for defeat.
“I think you can come back once in a while from behind like we did the other night, but I don't think you can spot the other team two goals all the time, especially now that they're energized and winning all the battles.” Babcock said.
Washington did play with more aggressiveness and desperation for a longer duration than in Game 3 on Monday, but once again the veteran Caps played prevent defense in the second half, allowing the Leafs to carry the play and pepper Holtby with 19 shots in the third.
Babcock is not considering any lineup changes for a pivotal Game 5 on Friday, but did not rule out juggling his lines. Caps coach Barry Trotz benefited from some tinkering on Wednesday, as Wilson was elevated to the third line with Andre Burakovsky and Lars Eller and had a significant impact on the game.