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Leafs battle Capitals in first home playoff game since 2013

News Staff and The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 17th, 2017

After a thrilling double-overtime win for the Toronto Maple Leafs in Washington over the weekend, the tied series returns to home ice on Monday.

Game 3 against the Capitals gets underway at 7 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre.

It is the Leafs first home playoff game since May 12, 2013.

Nikita Zaitsev is a good bet to make his series debut after sitting out the first two games with a suspected concussion.

Zaitsev skated at Air Canada Centre on Sunday afternoon and either he or Alexey Marchenko will get the nod for Monday night.

However, Roman Polak will miss the rest of the post-season after suffering a right leg injury Saturday in Toronto’s 4-3 victory.

The opening game of the best-of-seven series also went to overtime last Thursday. Tom Wilson scored about five minutes into the extra session to give the Capitals a 3-2 win.

Mike Babcock doesn’t think fatigue will be an issue as the series continues.

“I’ve been in tons of these series where you play lots of overtime,” he said. “The great thing about it is you’re playing at the greatest time of year. It’s fun anyway and you’d be amazed at how much energy you have.

“So let’s just keep on going.”

Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday in Toronto and Game 5 is set for Friday in Washington. Game 6 heads back to the ACC on April 23. If a seventh game is necessary, it will be played in Washington.

Once again, fans will converge at Maple Leaf Square to party with other fans and watch the game on the big screen on Monday. The tailgate party starts at 5 p.m.

For anyone who is planning to drive to the ACC, keep in mind that the eastbound Gardiner Expressway ramp to York, Bay and Yonge streets is closed.


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