Washington (1-2) at Toronto (2-1)
When: Wednesday, April 19th 2017
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: NBC Sports Network
The Toronto Maple Leafs try and put the top-seeded Washington Capitals on the brink of elimination when they host them in Game 4 of their first round series on Wednesday night. The Capitals are no strangers to early playoff exits despite very strong regular seasons since star Alex Ovechkin joined the team in 2005-06, failing to get past the second round. Ovechkin scored in his second consecutive game to increase his franchise-best playoff totals in goals (43) and points (84), but his team is down 2-1 entering Game 4. Veteran Justin Williams has scored five goals and set up four others during his seven-game playoff point streak dating to last season while fellow RW T.J. Oshie has two goals and five assists during his five-game playoff run. The Capitals failed to hold an early two-goal lead in Game 3 and ended up losing 4-3 in overtime to put the team in an almost must-win situation. The Capitals will be without defenseman Karl Alzner, who will miss his second straight game on Wednesday with an upper-body injury.
The Maple Leafs are playing with a lot less pressure and it’s showing. The team has a lot of confidence right now and their fans are really getting behind them in the hockey-crazed town of Toronto. Toronto is receiving big contributions from its rookies as Mitch Marner scored in the series opener, Kasperi Kapanen capped a two-goal performance in double overtime of Game 2 and top overall pick Auston Matthews and William Nylander each had a goal in Game 3. The rookie quartet is the Maple Leafs’ first since Vic Lynn, Howie Meeker, Joe Klukay and Gus Mortson each scored their respective first goals during the 1947 playoffs. Matthews came into this postseason already hot, recording 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in the last 13 games of the regular season before being held off the scoresheet in Games 1 and 2 in Washington. Defenseman Morgan Rielly has three points (one goal, two assists) in the series after being held off the scoresheet in each of his last 11 games of the regular season. Goalie Frederik Anderson has allowed three goals in each game, but came up with 94 saves in the two games in Washington to keep his team in it.
The Leafs have this Capitals team on the ropes, but Washington is experienced enough to get right back in this series. I’d like to see Toronto win, but I think the Caps come back strong tonight.
Pick: Capitals -140
HEAD TO HEAD
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