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7pm CBC Rnd 1 Gm 3 WSH @ TOR - Statement Game


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So the opening volleys have been fired, and the Leafs have matched them.

But now with the venue change the series moves to its next step - and the mindsets for both teams change.

If the Caps have another gear, then this is the game they show it. They know they're lucky to even be tied and can't take the Leafs lightly. A little bit of pride and a little bit of fear should mix together and see them come out hard to start this one. The Leafs will have to be ready.

As for the Leafs, there will be the temptation to be a little pleased with themselves that they'll have to avoid. Also, this might be the first game where they have to deal with the fact that winning this series is an actual possibility, and not just a happy-to-be-here pipedream - i.e. might be the first game where they feel the first tinges of the weight of expectations, especially in front of the home crowd.

Good news is that our toughest usage dman ks back in the lineup while their toughest usage dmen might be out, which should be a good lift. Then again, if Zaitsev isn't 100% then even the slightest miscue could cost us, so it's not a guarantee either.

Lots going on here. It will be a definite Statement Game - but I have no idea what that statement will be.


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Door is opening for the Leafs. Zaitsev returns tonight and Alzner looks to be out for the Caps. Alzner/Carlson have had the Matthews assignment, big opportunity


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so Trotz promises this time to play us for real, like previous 2 games were just test run.
is that his answer for Babs mind games?


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If the Caps are going to exorcise their demons, they need to come out tonight and show the Leafs why they finished at the top of the league while we scraped into the postseason at game 81. It's the textbook type of trial that eventual championship teams can go through. wouldn't be surprised if that happens, they are a very good squad and if we get into penalty trouble things could get ugly in a hurry tonight.

however having said that...they've been relatively unimpressive in game 1 & 2 overall all things considered, surely know it, and could be gripping their sticks a bit here given history. They haven't put nearly the kind of consistent pressure on our soft defence that I thought they would thus far. we've had enough time to move it out of trouble and our guys are supporting and spacing well. we look quicker too.

other than zaitsev coming back, I think the other positive is we got a road split even though Freddy allowed 2 soft goals in one of the games and 34/29 don't have a point. The two kids are due, and will surely get some better matchups at home. Good chance one or both get on the scoreboard here.


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so Trotz promises this time to play us for real, like previous 2 games were just test run.
is that his answer for Babs mind games?
That was an odd comment by Trotz.

One the one hand, he may be attempting to throw a scare into the opposition by hinting the Caps have another gear we haven't seen yet.

On the other hand, it's a tacit admission that the Caps didn't take the Leafs & this series seriously from the start.


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Dan O'Halloran and Ian Walsh

Sens are lucky enough to draw Peel tonight. Good luck with that


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IF the Caps are for real a cup contender, they should have another gear.

But then, we should have another gear too ... so far Kadri, Matthews, Nylander have not done much.

The bigger concern for us is Polak is out, and I am not sure how healthy Zaitsev is. It could be concussion, or it could be ribcage injury. In either case, if he's not 100% then the Caps will take advantage of that.

That, and the fact the young guys may feel they need to put up a show in front of the home crowd early tonight would be our biggest potential downfall tonight.

It should be a very exciting game though, expect another close game.


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Does Babcock have a spare D man dressed? Might say something to how sure he is on Zaitsev. We can't expect to keep dropping defencemen in-game and winning.


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I'm sure Washington will throw everything they have at the Leafs tonight. Hopefully the Leafs are good and ready for this. That said, the Caps did same for Game 2 and came up short. Will be interesting to see if they can adjust to the Leafs speed or figure out how to stymie it (which is almost certainly what trapmaster Trotz will be trying to get done).

The Leafs offense hasn't even really got going yet. Nylander and, to a lesser extent, Matthews have looked very dangerous all series. Is tonight the night they bust out and put up points? Holtby needs to be sharp.