Highlights of Wednesday's National Hockey League games

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 20, 2017

The Leafs checking has definitely been more felt in this series. The Capitals were unable to convert on a second-period five-on-three power play in Game 3, and that led to the Maple Leafs methodically erasing a two-goal lead and eventually winning the game in overtime. While he stuck with the combination of Matthews and Hyman all season, he often flipped Nylander for Connor Brown on the right wing - preferring the Toronto native as a more reliable defensive option.

Polak's absence further depleted a blue line that was already without top-pairing defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, forcing Gardiner, Morgan Rielly (40:12), Matt Hunwick (35:19) and Martin Marincin (30:41) to play heavy minutes. "So that hasn't changed". While the 31-year-old Bozak and a handful of veterans showed well, including Rielly, Leo Komarov and Nazem Kadri (two points), it was again the performance of youth that shone brightest. In game two they lead after the first period from James Van Riemsdyk's goal after leading 11-8 in shots on goal. A David Pastrnak goal 13:51 into the third period rallied the Bruins from down three to knot up the contest, and yet some sly saves from Craig Anderson and a power-play score from Bobby Ryan in OT put Ottawa back on top and in charge of the series, 2-1. Wilson made the save on one goal line, then buried the puck into the other.

"All those guys have probably had a ton of pressure on them their whole lives", Bozak said. "It's a battle. They're a good team". They're a team that's ferocious on the forecheck and they swarm you when you turn (the puck) over.

Lineup options for Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock were limited before the regular season began.

The Leafs were doubted, in part, to beat the Caps because of their overwhelming inexperience - 10 players making their National Hockey League playoff debuts in this series. He wants to see the Capitals get even more pucks on net and be less picky and more vigilant about establishing a net-front presence. (And it's) just because the stakes are higher. We know what it's like to play on the road in the playoffs. So everything is magnified, that's all. "Now I feel really good, so I can help the team". "But I think you gain respect for yourself in the process and you start believing that maybe you can do this". "We knew after that, we can do our business".

Kadri, generously listed at six feet and 195 pounds, came out with a rampaging shift that saw him flatten Caps defenceman Brooks Orpik twice. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy, had a 3.61 goals-against average and.891 save percentage through his first three games of the playoffs after finishing first in the regular season (2.06 GAA, .931 save percentage). But before Marner could catch up to the pass, Braden Holtby slid out nearly to the blue line to knock it away. With the talent Washington boasts, there is no reason Toronto should have been allowed to erase a two-goal second-period deficit, let alone prevent the Caps from getting off a clean shot until late in the third.

Van Riemsdyk scored early in the second on a power play, but Toronto wasted almost two full minutes of a 5-on-3 advantage.

Nylander evened it up at three at the tail-end of that second period. At times they have looked like the young team they are, but most of the time they are the Capitals' equals on the ice. "It was just a practice play". Here are the keys to a Maple Leaf victory in game four of their series in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It's fun anyway and you'd be amazed at how much energy you have. In short, some good teams are trying to avoid making some ugly history in the next two days. "They wouldn't be here if they weren't".

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