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Wednesday Caps Clips: Twenty, Twenty, Twenty-Four Hours to Go

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Daily Washington Capitals news and notes: All the updates as the Caps and Leafs hit the ice to prepare for tomorrow’s first-round collision course.

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Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals - Game One Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Your savory breakfast links:

  • The Japers' Rink Radio crew is joined by WaPo's distinguished scribe, Isabelle Khurshudyan, to talk first-round preview. [Rink]
  • Get to know Nikita Zaitsev... [Rink]
  • ...and Nazem Kadri. [Rink]
  • Round one previews (and get all the stats and facts you need in this year's playoff guide from the Caps). [Peerless, National Post, CarterHud, PPP, Sporting News]
  • Post-practice updates from the coach and Caps. [Monumental video (Trotz, Ovechkin, Backstrom, locker room, Rinkside Update/Beagle)]
  • Braden Holtby has provided long sought-after stability in net for the Caps. [WaPo]
  • John Carlson appears to be nearing a return after missing four games with a lower-body injury. [WaPo, CSNMA, Caps Outsider]
  • All season long, the Caps have been monitoring Alex Ovechkin's ice time; now he's ready to take it up a notch for the playoffs. [CSNMA, AP]
  • So is this the Year of Ovechkin? [Le Journal de Montreal]
  • A look at how the Caps' special teams stack up against playoff opponents. [NoVa Caps, Maple Leafs Hotstove]
  • Hometown boy Tom Wilson is preparing for the distraction of playing in front of friends and family, and against the team of his childhood. [CSNMA, CBS Baltimore]
  • Gritty but with the ability to chip in on offense, Wilson is a player built for the playoffs. [TSN]
  • Should the Caps get past Round 1, they're likely to see some familiar faces. [WashTimes]
  • The numbers definitely have the Caps in a good position to win the ultimate prize... [ESPN, Hockeyviz]
  • ...but whether or not they are successful might just come down to heart. Or something. [WashTimes]
  • Of course, Mike Milbury and the rest of the NBC crew seem to be in agreement: this is the Caps' year. *cue Twilight Zone theme* [WaPo]
  • Both teams can score, so the Caps' defense will be key against the Maple Leafs. [StarsandSticks]
  • Post-practice updates from the enemy:
  • The Maple Leafs appear to be a bit banged up on the blueline, with Nikita Zaitsev and Roman Polak both questionable for Game 1... [CSNMA, PPP, Globe and Mail]
  • ...but there's potentially better news (for Leafs fans, at least) when it comes to Frederik Andersen's availability for the series opener. [Toronto Sun, Toronto Star]
  • Former Islanders tough guy Matt Martin, now with the Leafs, knows just how physical the Caps can be. [Toronto Sun]
  • With great power comes great... media responsibility. [Globe and Mail]
  • A number of the Leafs will be making their playoff debuts, and are hoping their inexperience won't spell doom against the more seasoned Caps. [CP]
  • All of Toronto is hoping that the weight of expectations following the Caps around will eventually be their downfall and the scrappy underdog will prevail. [Toronto Sun, THW]
  • Because guys, #theLeafsareactuallygood. [PPP]
  • Of course, the most important question is, can the baby-faced Leafs manage any playoff peach fuzz? [Toronto Star]
  • O, Canada is pretty excited to have so many teams returning to the postseason after having no representation in 2016. [WaPo, AP, Globe and Mail, National Post]
  • The Caps know playoff disappointment, and that every team is tough to beat - so they're not looking past these Leafs. [Toronto Sun]
  • They're also not feeling pressure, or at least saying they're not, about the upcoming postseason push. [NBC4 (video)]
  • "Don't think ‘what if?' Think about ‘why not?' I think that's the important message to give to the fans. We're gonna do it and we're gonna need your support all the way through." Kevin Shattenkirk with some wise words for all of us. [CBS DC]
  • Make no mistake, though - the playoffs are a whole different animal. [ESPN]
  • Examining the long, storied history of this heated rivalry between the Caps and Leafs. [NoVa Caps]
  • Looking for a playoff team to bandwagon? Well, you could do worse than the 2016-17 Washington Capitals. [Sportsnet (DGB), StarsandSticks]
  • Ranking all 16 starting goalies for the playoffs. [National Post]
  • Check out a boatload of great pictures from a very well-attended first pre-playoff practice. [NoVa Caps]
  • Chatting with Taylor Chorney about his role as the team's 7th/8th defenseman. [THW]
  • Backs against the wall, the Hershey Bears have cranked things up a notch for the playoff push. [NoVa Caps]
  • Meanwhile the Stingrays are preparing to meet a familiar foe in their first-round matchup against Greenville. [Caps Outsider]
  • Great news on the broadcast front, as Dave Strader makes his return to the booth to call some of the Caps-Leafs games in between cancer treatments. [PHT, FOX Sports]
  • Between hockey, basketball, arena football and the occasional concert, the Verizon Center crew will have their hands full keeping that ice nice. [WaPo]
  • Looking back at pre-season predictions - just how close was the CSN crew to guessing what really happened? [CSNMA]
  • Garrett Mitchell reflects on his first NHL start. [CJME]
  • Which team is better, the Caps or Penguins? Oh, don't make us choose. [THW]
  • Ranking each opening-round series based on watchability. [FOX Sports]
  • If the Caps and Leafs go five games, it could mean a Chris Brown concert has to get moved. And suddenly there's a reason to hope the Caps don't sweep. [CBS DC]
  • Gentlemen, start your beards! [Beard-a-thon]