Any NHL fan who is still mad at commissioner Gary Betman for shrinking the season from 82 games to 48 in 2013, has obviously not tuned in to any playoff hockey this Spring. The first round of action has been spectacular and as fate would have it three of the eight series have gone or are going seven games. Thus far, the highest seed to move on is the #7 Detroit Red Wings who started the game seven madness on Sunday with a win over the Anaheim Ducks to advance.
The Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals both have had ample opportunity to move on without a game seven, but sloppy play from both teams has resulted in some extra hockey. Both the Caps and Bruins are favorites to move on, yet they would both have preferred nailing home a victory in game six.
Nonetheless, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the hottest team competing on Monday, winning their last two games over a Bruins team that is as physical as they come. As a young squad the Leafs have been told they are too inexperienced since the puck dropped back in January, but they are believing in themselves and goalie James Reimer is a big reason why. Reimer notched 29 saves on Sunday, so don’t be surprised if he pitches a shutout in the biggest game of his young career.
The Capitals will play host to the New York Rangers on Monday at the Verizon Center where the Rangers have not won since March 10th and are 0 for their last three. With home ice, the Capitals will need to get to the net early and often because they did not score a single goal against Henrik Lundqvist.