Mike Babcock has bold quote after Game 5 defeat

Paola Ditto
Aprile 24, 2017

He played in only four games this year, without recording a point.

Will the Washington Capitals put the Toronto Maple Leafs away for good when the two meet in Game 6 today at 7PM ET?

"We don't need much convincing (heading into Game 6 against the Washington Capitals on Sunday night at the Air Canada Centre)".

This wasn't the series anyone predicted.

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs - There was no shortage of fanfare surrounding Matthews from the day he went number one overall. Nine of the 16 goals scored by Toronto in this series came from its rookies.

Instead this has become a series of inches, one decided by the slightest of margins and mistakes. "The first-year guys are getting their feet wet and what a better way to do it than what they're doing up there now", he said.

"It's a good series". We believe this is just the start. "That's what we're going to do", Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. How is that even possible?

"You can't have any more fun than this", Babcock said. The Leafs have surprised many, just not themselves, in giving the Capitals all they can handle through the series.

That's basically a draw, at 5-on-5 and 4-on-4.

"It's not just special teams all over the place".

This followed a Game 5 in which Holtby allowed one goal and made 25 saves, and Andersen allowed two goals while making 28. He won 56.8 percent of the defensive-zone faceoffs he took during the regular season and was a key factor in the Capitals' turnaround in the faceoff circle this series. The club had successive opportunities after the Matthews goal, but failed to score or even generate a shot.

What's interesting about what's happened in this series is the pace of play has been dictated by the Leafs at 5-on-5.

Barry Trotz teams can slow games down. We played hard, grinding hockey against the best team in the league. That's easily the highest of any first round series so far. They have been the Leafs' most risky line so far.

Referee Wes McCauley (4) reaches for a balloon above the ice during the first period of Game 5 in an NHL Stanley Cup hockey first-round playoff series between the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs, Friday, April 21, . "That being said, they have good penalty killers, they work hard, they have a lot of speed and so it's going to be a factor in the next game". Rookie of the year finalist Auston Matthews scored four goals and an inexperienced, untested defense handled and thrived under the pressure. The series victor takes on the Anaheim Ducks in Round 2. "Obviously, more people have a different opinion than me".

But Toronto hasn't been able to take advantage of that. Frederik Andersen has given up 16 goals on 175 shots faced.

"I think we're proud of the way we worked, we're proud of the way we played for the most part, and that's that", added Rielly of Game 6. "That's something, mentally, you have to go through a little bit because every team is going, "We've got nothing to lose" and we're on the other side going, 'We've got everything to lose'".

Williams had a chance to win it late in regulation but couldn't get a shot on net.

Now they get to rest up for the defending champions. We have unbelievable support from the city of Toronto and Leafs Nation. Got to find out where we're at and where our players are at. "We'll have to address that tomorrow". They have been contenders for years but have not made the conference final.

"We'll have to go back to the drawing board", Babcock said.

Babcock, as you might guess, didn't think there should have been a penalty on the play.

The amusing thing was, according to the score sheet, the Leafs were 71 per cent on the draw on the power play. So that wasn't really the problem.

“He has his opinion, I have mine, ” Trotz said.

It was a bitter end for the Maple Leafs, who made a 26-point leap in the standings during the regular season as they jumped from last place in the NHL to the postseason and then almost beat the best team in hockey.

If not next season then the one after that certainly.

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