Okay, I know the title is an awful pun, and apologies are in order. But! None of that matters, the Washington Capitals have advanced to the second round! Washington eliminated the pesky Toronto Leafs on the road in 6 games.
First of all, what an incredible series. Those young guns in Toronto are going to be lethal in the coming years. The Leafs gave the Capitals everything they could handle, and Washington threw it right back at them.
The Stanley Cup playoffs are where names are made, where unfamiliar names come into the spotlight. Tom Wilson is mostly known as a power forward. Wilson can fire up a team with a big hit, a fight, and even sometimes, score a timely goal. It is known that Wilson is a Canadian boy, born and raised in Toronto, and he seems to love scoring against his hometown team, because the noted power forward flexed his offensive muscle by scoring the game 1 overtime winner, and adding two more goals in the game 4 victory. Not usually what he’s known for, but we’ll take it.
Auston Matthews, obviously known for his unreal shot and goal scoring ability, had a bit of a slow start in the series. He really revved up his play in games 3 through 6, in which he scored in each game. It didn’t take Matthews long to make his presence known on the big stage.
Bounces. Bounces, bounces, bounces. One series summed up with one word. Bounces. It seemed like the Leafs were getting the benefit of every whacky bounce in the series. From Mitch Marner’s opening goal in game 1, to Auston Matthews’ goal in game 6 in which Nikita Zaitsev’s dump in caught the stantion and landed perfectly on Matthews’ stick. At that moment, I knew Toronto was going to get every single bounce.
Marcus Johansson. What a guy. When the Caps were down by a goal late in the 3rd period, Johansson basically told everyone at the Air Canada Centre, “sit down guys, I’ve got this” and he notched the equalizer with about 7 minutes left.
Overtime. So. Many. Overtime games. 5 of the 6 games included an overtime period. Definitely not ideal for one’s health. Anyways, in game 6, Johansson tied it, we were headed for overtime again. Imagine that. In the extra frame, it was ALL Washington. Toronto’s young guys were showing exhaustion, and took an icing. Not good for them. Evgeny Kuznetsov won the draw cleanly, and Williams collected it. Williams threw a puck on net from the right circle, and rebounded off Frederik Andersen’s pad. Rebound! Marcus Johansson cleans it up and pokes it home. Game over, series over.
Toronto has a hell of a team, and will for the foreseeable future. What a great group of guys, taking the best team in the NHL to six games, that’s incredible and they have a lot to be proud of. However, we turn to Pittsburgh, and look to (finally) get rid of those flightless birds.