Yes, the Toronto Maple Leafs have exceeded Stanley Cup odds prior to the start of the postseason. But now it’s crunch time, the point in a 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs where nerves must be made of steel and experience matters. It’s what the young Leafs are finding out.
2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Washington Capitals
As the Washington Capitals and Leafs prepare for Game 6 Sunday, Toronto finds themselves on the brink of elimination, a far cry from the position that they were in only a few days ago, having been up two games to one. The difference? Experience. The game-winning goal Friday night was scored by a guy with the moniker “Mr. Game 7,” Justin Williams. The veteran winger and winner of three titles is 7-0 in Game 7s. While Sunday’s tilt will not be a Game 7, it may as well be for the Leafs.
In a series that has seen every game go down the wire or end up in overtime, the Caps’ talent depth and experience is taking over. Goaltender Braden Holtby has found his form and players like Williams and Alexander Ovechkin are leading the way.
While it’s conceivable that Game 6 could be won by the hockey betting underdog Leafs, my NHL pick is the Capitals. I’ll take experience, the hot hand and better overall talent to close it out.
With the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins waiting to play the winner, the Caps know that they can ill afford to waste any energy on a Game 7. The time to close it out is now – and Sunday that’s exactly what I predict the Present’s Choice Trophy winners will do.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.