The Washington Capitals host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night at the Verizon Center. This matchup kicks off the second night of action in the 2017 NHL Playoffs. The Capitals come in as a heavy favorite to finally win the entire thing. Their pursuits of the title have been stopped short in recent years. The Maple Leafs were able to scramble enough to become the Eastern Conference's final wild card squad. Washington has won seven of the last eight meetings against Toronto. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM Eastern time and this contest can be seen on NBC Sports Network.

Maple Leafs (4th Atlantic [2nd Wild Card], 40-27-15 overall, 19-14-8 away, 45-37 ATS)

Despite losing three of their last four games, Toronto was able to hold onto a playoff berth. Their most recent defeat was a 3-2 buzzsaw against Columbus. After an opening period of no scoring, everything happened in the second. James Van Riemsdyk was responsible for both goals in the first 6:36 minutes of the period. However, that was all the scoring that would happen for the Maple Leafs. Their opponent was able to outshoot them 20-9 on the goal and score three of them to take the lead.

Defender Nikita Zaitsev (36 pts) will be out of the contest with an upper body injury. He left the regular season finale against Columbus early.

Defender Roman Polak (11 pts) has been dealing with a leg injury but should be available. He registered an assist last time out.

Capitals (1st Metropolitan, 55-19-8 overall, 32-7-2 home, 37-45 ATS)

Washington slipped up against Florida in a 2-0 defeat, ending their four-game winning streak heading into the postseason.

The Panthers would score one in the second and in the third, and that would be all that wound up in the nets despite the Capitals having a large 38-21 advantage with Shots On Goal. Florida had more shots on goal in the first period (12) than in the last two combined (9), but still ended up with goals in the later stages.

Capitals goalie Branden Holtby is now 42-13-6 on the season. Despite suffering the loss, it shouldn't affect Washington, as they were coasting to the playoffs.

Both defender John Carlson (37 pts) and right wing Brett Connolly (23 pts) should be good to go on Thursday night. Connolly missed the last two games of the season with an illness. Carlson missed four games with a lower-body injury.

Betting on Capitals and Maple Leafs

Washington is an extremely big favorite at home, valued at -250 on the moneyline, while Toronto sits at +200. Goal total is set at 5.5. The home team has won 20 of the last 28 meetings in this matchup.

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