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Thursday, April 20, 2017

NHL : Leafs Look to Keep Pressure on Caps in Game 5

Round One between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals was touted as the most lopsided head-to-head matchup leading into the 2016-17 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Leafs, however, have proven that despite their inexperience, they have the desire to push the Caps to the brink. Each of the first three games of the series went to overtime, with the Leafs winning two of three. Heroes for the Leafs have been unlikely in 20-year-old Kasperi Kapanen, who scored his second and third career NHL goals in Game 2, including the OT winner, and Tyler Bozak, who’s known more for his passing abilities than scoring, but managed to net the winner in Game 3.

The Washington Capitals were the best team in the NHL in 2016-17. They were a defensive and offensive juggernaut through the regular season, ranking 6th in team offense and 8th in team defense. Despite that dominance, the Caps carry a reputation for not being able to perform in the playoffs, and that history seems to be following them in a series that most projected wouldn’t go past five games. The Capitals will be looking for more offence from their stars and better goaltending from Braden Holtby. Game time is 7:00 PM ET on CBC.

Live odds and lines

NHL Odds: Young Leafs Give Veteran Caps All They Can Handle in Round One

The Washington Capitals’ reputation precedes them: Once again, they had a dominant regular season, only to struggle in the playoffs. The Caps have qualified for the postseason in eight of the last nine seasons, but have not made it past the second round in any of those appearances.

The Leafs, on the other hand, only qualified for the playoffs once in the previous 12 seasons. Due to outstanding performances from rookies Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, the Leafs punched their postseason ticket, surprising even the most hopeful of fans. Now, this battle of David versus Goliath has the Leafs looking to do the unthinkable.

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