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Posted at 1:30 PM EST
7:05 PM EST. The Leafs will face a familiar foe here when they play the team that knocked them out of last year’s playoffs in the first round. Five of the six games went to overtime and the other was a one-goal regulation decision. This year, however, the proverbial passing of the torch is about to begin, as it is Toronto that will likely finish ahead of the Caps in the standing for years to come, including this year. The Caps’ time has passed while Toronto’s is just beginning. Known for their stellar defensive play and balanced scoring, the Caps are not the same anymore, as several players left, few came their way and the team is a year older and slower too. Washington’s defense is a complete mess too. They are allowing an average of 24½ scoring chances against per game and only two teams are worse. The Flyers took advantage of that by burying eight goals on the Caps. The speedy Maple Leafs figure to get even more scoring chances. The blueprint to beat the Caps is not a difficult one. Just stay out of the box and make them beat you 5 on 5 and your chances improve greatly. The Caps are 3-3 but have been badly outshot and outplayed in five of their six games.
The Maple Leafs score goals and while their goals per game average is unsustainable, this is probably the weakest defense they’ll see so far this season. The Rangers defense may be considered worse but Toronto buried eight goals on the Rags. The experts are still going to insist that the Caps are a threat to win the Cup but we’re not in agreement with that. Mentally, the Caps don’t have that swag anymore because they are out of excuses. The goaltending is still solid but that defense is a total wasteland that can’t move the puck out anymore. Barry Trotz’s defensive system is too old school while Mike Babcock changes his strategies to play to the strength of his players. Toronto offers up great value when taking back a price because of their ability to score and get a lead while the Caps will remain overpriced well into the season regardless of their record because of their pedigree. We’ll look to take advantage of that here.
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Toronto +111 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.22)