Game Day: Babcock to ‘crack the whip’
April 21, 2017, 10:04 AM ET [68 Comments]
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When this series started there were a lot of Maple Leafs fans who were just happy to be in a playoff spot and the thought of facing the best team in the regular season in the Washington Capitals was a scary one. It’s true; the Caps were incredible all season long and weren’t exactly an ideal matchup for this young Maple Leafs team.
Many “pros” predicted the Capitals to crush the Leafs in four or five games. I hope they are choking on their words now as the Leafs force a game six at minimum and haven’t exactly been out of any of the first four games while securing two wins. It’s been a goal scoring frenzy in this series and it seems that no lead is a safe one!
The Leafs were sleeping in the first few minutes in each of their home games. Both times they fell behind 2-0 in the early going and had to battle all game long just to stay in the game. Perhaps they need to get some sniffing-salts on the bench to fire up the boys. Now that the series is back to Washington for a game, the boys sporting the blue and white better get off to a good start as they don’t want that home crowd to get too involved.
Last game I thought Babcock and his coaching staff would have been wise to challenge that second goal as it could have been a difference maker at the end of the day. The Leafs had a glorious opportunity at the end of the second period/beginning of the third when they got a two man advantage for basically a full two minutes. They had a few good chances but at the end of the day they didn’t bury one and when you lose a game by one goal and you blow an opportunity like that; it stings.
There was hope for the Leafs even though they didn’t score on the two man advantage. With eight minutes left in the game Matthews scored his second of the series getting the Leafs within a goal of the Caps. Unfortunately Oshie scored just 1 minute later giving Washington a comfortable two goal lead with just seven minutes to go. The Leafs pulled Andersen and were able to squeeze one more goal passed Holtby, but it wasn’t enough as they fell 5-4 in what turned out to be an almost epic comeback.
If you ask me, the Leafs stunk in the first period but played well the other 40 minutes of the game minus a few furballs that they coughed up. TJ Oshie’s third period goal was not only ugly it was hideous, just sloppy, unlucky play that resulted in a demoralizing goal that had no business ending up in the back of the net. The puck got caught up in some skates, bounced around and ended up quickly in the back of Toronto’s net. A total piss off.
It was a winnable game even though it wasn’t a pretty one, that’s been the trend of the series for both teams and it’s anyone’s series at this point in time.
The Leafs have to contain Ovechkin, he only scores from one spot on the ice and his game is basically meaningless unless he’s setup with a gift-wrapped pass to wire home with a one timer. Someone just be aware of his presence and get a stick in front of his, it’s as simple as that. He’s a joke of a superstar and that’s exactly why Washington has never made it out of the second round. Someone smother him at the top of the circle and he will be obsolete in the rest of the series.
A best of 3 will decide who moves on. As long as the Leafs don’t leave their skate guards in the first five minutes I feel they will be heading back to Toronto needing just a single win to send Washington home with their bags packed.
Tonight will be a game of the ages.
One thing is certain, win lose or draw tonight I am overly pleased with the heart and soul the Leafs have put into these playoff games. They have been underdogs all season but haven’t given up in any game at any point.
When this series goes back to Toronto for Sunday’s game we need the electricity to be in the air. Those suits in the building need to get in the spirit of things and get some blue and white on. Enough of this crap with trying to look all professional in your corporate seats, buy a jersey, borrow a jersey and cheer like you mean it. Any true Leafs fan would be honored to sit in your seat and cheer on the boys to victory. Time to step it up a notch!
Congratulations to Auston Matthews for his Calder nomination; I think it’s pretty safe to say he’s the front runner.
Enjoy tonight’s game 5. It’s going to be a nail biter!
Thanks for reading.
Go Leafs Go!!