The Capitals face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round starting on Thursday (7 p.m., CSN). While Washington may be the overwhelming favorites, there are still reasons to worry about Toronto. Here are three reasons to be nervous about a possible upset by the Maple Leafs.
1. Mike Babcock
Babcock is one of, if not the best coach in the NHL. He has won one Stanley Cup, three conference championships, three Olympic gold medals, one World Championship and one World Cup. As young and as inexperienced as the Leafs are, Babcock is the right coach to prepare his young team for playoff hockey. A good coach can get the most out of his players. He has already done that by getting them into the postseason. What else can he do now that he's led Toronto to the playoffs?
RELATED: 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions
2. Toronto’s power play
It was another strong season for the Caps’ power play. With a success rate of 23.1-percent, Washington’s unit finished tied for third in the NHL. Toronto, however, finished second with 23.8-percent. No team in the NHL took more penalties from Jan. 1 on than the Capitals. If they stay undisciplined in the postseason, the Leafs have a power play good enough to make them pay.
3. Frederik Andersen
Remember Jaroslav Halak? Of course you do. In 2010, Halak led the Montreal Canadiens to an unthinkable upset of the Caps. In that series, Halak stifled Washington with a .939 save percentage. Andersen is even better. While with the Anaheim Ducks, Andersen was incredible in five playoff games in 2016 with a .947 save percentage and 1.41 GAA. If he can put up similar numbers against Washington, he will give the Leafs a chance.
MORE CAPITALS: Trotz dismisses Babcock's comments on pressure being on Caps