xxxx

For Leafs and Capitals, confidence game is a two-way street: Arthur

The Washington Capitals spoke with confidence and you wondered, do they feel it? Leafs coach Mike Babcock had been trying to up the ante on his Presidents’ Trophy-winning opponent since the beginning, believing that if Toronto put pressure on a franchise with a history of failure it would come to bear, like coffins that surface during a flood. Down 2-1 in this first-round series, did the Capitals believe in themselves, really? Or could they be made to sweat?The Capitals answered the question, and the Maple Leafs did, too. Washington raced to a 2-0 lead, and a 4-1 lead, and for 40 minutes the gap between the two teams stretched as wide as it has in this series, and almost as wide as most people believed it would be coming in. The comeback came too late. The pressure shifted back. “I thought today was the first time that maybe we weren’t scared enough of them,” said Babcock. “And it looked like it, because their competition level wasn’t high.”“When you compete at a real high level lots of things go your way. And when you don’t, they don’t go your way. Hockey’s a fair game, 99 per cent of the time the team that competes hardest wins. I thought today’s game was fair.”That’s the kind of thing a coach has to tell his players, in a game where they spend their lives trying to control the way a puck can bounce. Players tell themselves you earn your bounces, because anything else would make them feel like pawns. Article Continued BelowRead more:Maple Leafs fall to Capitals in Game 4 showdownCapitals’ Tom Wilson makes himself right at home in ACC: Feschuk

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx