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Capitals vs. Maple Leafs Playoffs 2017: Game 1 prediction recap

Capitals vs. Maple Leafs Playoffs 2017: Game 1 prediction recap

After an abysmal start, the Caps got it together and rallied for a thrilling 3-2 overtime win in Game 1 on Thursday.

Here's a recap of the three bold predictions for the game.

1. Washington will be outshot in the first period - Correct

The Caps were outshot 15-12 in the first period and 10-3 to start the second before they really put things together, but this prediction was about more than just shots. I thought Washington would be outplayed in the first period so I wanted a quantifiable way to judge that other than score since goals are harder to come by in the playoffs. As it turns out, I was right in that they were outshot and right in that they were outplayed.

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2. Alex Ovechkin will score - Wrong

Ovechkin was kept off the scoresheet, but the Leafs had no answer for Justin Williams who scored twice in regulation to erase the Caps' two-goal deficit.

3. Washington will give up two or fewer power plays - Correct

Toronto only had one power play on the night and it came in the first period as Lars Eller was called for cross checking Martin Marincin. The Caps' penalty kill played exceptionally well, however, and it did not end up costing Washington.

2017 playoff results: Despite the start to the game, the Caps got the playoffs started right with a win. I also started things off on the right foot with two correct predictions.

Correct: 2
Wrong: 1
Push: 0

MORE CAPITALS: Williams says 'enough is enough' before putting team on his back

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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.

Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.

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NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

The Hart Trophy is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to their team. With the Caps currently struggling in almost every aspect of the game, consider this: Just where would they be without Alex Ovechkin?

Washington ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.05. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36. He has scored an incredible 19-percent of his team's goals. No one on the Caps is within 20 goals of the Caps' captain.

That's not a typo. Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the team with 16 goals. No other team in the league has a larger separation between its top two scorers. In fact, only three teams have a difference that's in the double digits: Vancouver (11), San Jose (10) and New Jersey (10).

Ovechkin is almost singlehandedly propping up Washington as a top-ten offense. If you think about just where this offense would be without him, there's a pretty strong case to be made that Ovechkin is as valuable to his team this season as any other player in the league.

SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE

Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is fifth among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With a blue line that has featured two rookies the majority of the season, an aging veteran in Brooks Orpik and that had to deal with an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

Few players, if any, are as important to their team's offensive production and therefore its success than Ovechkin has been this season.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!