Trotz wants Capitals to take advantage of opportunity to push Maple Leafs ‘off the cliff’

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Thanks to their overtime win in Game 5 on Friday night, the Washington Capitals will have a chance to knock the Toronto Maple Leafs out of the playoffs in Game 6 on Sunday night.

It’s a big opportunity, and it seems that coach Barry Trotz wants his team to take advantage of it so they can avoid a Game 7 in what has been an incredibly close, evenly played series.

He just had a very grim way of putting it.

“If you have the opportunity to push someone off the cliff, you want to push them off, if you can,” said Trotz in a conference call on Saturday.

Maple Leafs forward Matt Martin had perhaps the best response, saying (via NHL.com’s Dave McCarthy), “Makes me not want to ever go hiking with him. Maybe it’s a strong analogy but it make sense.”

Naturally, Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock was also asked about Trotz’s approach and he said he agreed with his mindset 100 percent.

“I think the way I said it is if you have someone down and you have a chance to step on them, you step on them. Or they might get up and kill you,” said Babcock, via the Atlantic. “I agree with him 100 percent. We’re in the same thing, if we don’t win, we go home. There should be no more desperate team than us We are all aware and understand that fully.”

Things are starting to get real in that series.

If the first five games have shown us anything, it’s that you should probably expect another tight, close game on Sunday as it has been the most competitive series in the entire first round. Every game in the series to this point has been decided by a single goal, with four of the first five games requiring overtime.

Babcock was also asked on Saturday about this series of exchanges prior to leaving the Verizon Center on Friday night.

“They were being nice to me on the way out, saying ‘have a good year,’ and I said no we’ll se you in a couple days. In my mind and in my heart I know that is what is going to happen.”

The winner of the series will move on to face the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round.