After a surprising split in Washington, the series now heads to Toronto for an all-important Game 3 between the Caps and Maple Leafs (7 p.m., CSN). Here are three bold predictions for Game 3.
1. Washington will score more than once in the first period
In Toronto’s final seven games of the season, the Leafs had a three-game road trip followed by a four-game home stand. They won all three games on the road which made the playoffs look like a foregone conclusion, but they really struggled when they returned home and ended up winning only one of those four. Do not underestimate the pressure of the Toronto media. Having this series start on the road was probably a good thing for the young Leafs. Returning home with all the attention they are receiving may get a bit overwhelming and that will be evident on the ice.
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2. Braden Holtby will have a higher save percentage than Frederik Andersen
Andersen has overshadowed Holtby so far in this series, but that has more to do with results than play. Holtby has played exceptionally well and had made up for a lot of bad turnovers in the defensive zone with fantastic saves. His save percentage for the series is .932. Andersen is only slightly better at .936 and both have an identical GAA of 2.29. There’s a reason why Holtby entered the series with the highest save percentage in NHL playoff history and he will show that Tuesday. No one rebounds from a loss quite like Holtby. Plus, it may be easy to get an inflated save percentage against a Leafs team focused on getting as many shots on net as possible.
3. Auston Matthews will get his first playoff point
There’s been a lot of talk on how the Capitals top line has been limited this series, but what about Matthews? The team's leading scorer has not registered a single point in the first two games of the series, but he will get on the board Monday in front of the home crowd.