By Scott Taylor
Series A: Washington Capitals (55-19-8, 118 points) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (40-27-15, 95 points).
The Caps have a team that is built to win right now. Granted, the President’s Trophy champion doesn’t often win the Stanley Cup, but with the Capitals talent and Coach Barry Trotz, this could be the year.
Nicklas Backstrom led the Caps in scoring with 23 goals and 86 points while Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie each had 33 goals. The key for Washington, however, is goaltender Braden Holtby. He had a 2.07 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. Goaltending is probably the most important element in the playoffs and the Caps might have the best goalie in the NHL.
Toronto has the feel good story of the season, making the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and making the post-season for only the second time since 2004 under Coach Mike Babcock. Likely NHL Rookie of the Year, Auston Matthews, led the Leafs with 40 goals and 69 points while Matthews, James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, William Nylander and Mitch Marner all had at least 60 points, the only NHL team with five 60-point scorers.
However, the key for the Leafs will be goalie Frederik Anderson. He had a 2.67 goals against average and a .918 save percentage and he will have to be at least that good against Washington.
Players to Watch:
Washington: Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby,
Toronto: Auston Matthews and Frederik Anderson
Season Series: Washington won 2-1.
Our Choice: Washington in five games.