Washington (3-2) at Toronto (2-3)
When: Sunday, April 23rd 2017
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: NBC Sports Network
The Washington Capitals will look to close out the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night and meet once again with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. Washington ousted Philadelphia this time last year in six games before getting beat by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Penguins. Washington’s Justin Williams scored 64 seconds into overtime on Friday night to give his team the 2-1 win in what was the fourth overtime game of the series. The Capitals, who have just an 8-6 record when holding a 3-2 series lead, can close things out on the road. Williams’ third goal of the playoffs and the 36th of his career in the postseason was keyed by a big faceoff win from Jay Beagle and then set up from assists by Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Capitals got a scare in the first period when Toronto center Nazem Kadri delivered what looked to be a low hip check on the left knee of Washington star Alexander Ovechkin, who flipped in the air and lay on the ice for several minutes before being helped off the ice by two teammates. Ovechkin emerged from the tunnel to an enormous roar to start the second period and, on his opening shift, delivered a big hit to show he was fine.
Auston Matthews continued his goal-scoring surge on Friday, becoming the fourth rookie in franchise history to score in three or more consecutive playoff games. Fellow rookie William Nylander and Zach Hyman recorded an assist on the second-period goal to extend their respective point streaks to three games, with Nylander collecting one goal and three assists on his stretch while Hyman latter has scored a goal and set up two others in his streak. Goalie Frederik Andersen bounced back from a poor Game 4 with a solid effort on Friday, allowing just the two goals on 30 shots. He let up five goals to the Capitals in the last game played at Air Canada Centre (Game 4). The young Maple Leafs team is hanging tough with the President’s Trophy winning Capitals, trailing by one goal (16-15) overall and tied in shots on goal (175-175). Center Tyler Bozak is 12-for-21 (57.1%) on power-play draws in the series.
Washington won’t want to let this series get to a winner-take-all Game 7. They have been really good on the road all season and exploded for five goals in their last game at Air Canada Centre. Look for Holtby to be on his game tonight and for the Capitals to advance.
Pick: Capitals -145
HEAD TO HEAD
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