Playoffs, baby! Maple Leafs clinch playoff spot with thrilling win over Penguins
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 17, 2017,
Apr 17, 2017, 23:01
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) reacts to a goal, next to teammates Morgan Rielly (44) and Zach Hyman (11), during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto on Saturday, April 8, 2017. Then the Blue Jackets took at 3-2 lead on Cam Atkinson's 35th goal of the season, and that ended up as the final score.
Instead, as the second wild card team, they face the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin in the first round. Tampa Bay defeated Toronto 4-1 to keep their slight playoff hopes alive.
Conventional wisdom would suggest you'd rather face the Senators than the Caps, but the Leafs coach says he's learned to be careful what he wishes for. For us, we have surpassed some outside expectations, so it's a little bit of a different dynamic for each team.
Toronto fans had a scare in late in the first period when rookie Auston Matthews was hit in the offensive zone by rookie Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin. Columbus has not been playing like a playoff contender over the last two weeks as they head into tonight's game as losers of five in a row and will surely be out for blood in a rematch of one of the league's best games this season that happened last month between these two sides.
Babcock, perhaps not surprisingly, plans to spend lots of time before Thursday's opener in D.C. detailing for his group what exactly is different about playoff hockey. "I think for them, as much as getting in the playoffs is important for them, they see the future has an opportunity to have a chance to be a good team".
Babcock said he expected Andersen to practice Monday and be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs against either Washington or Ottawa. Also, the Leafs are now seeded in the Metro, which means if they get past the Capitals they'll have either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round.
You knew it wasn't going to be easy, right? "We just want to go out and assert our game early in the series, do things we do well and put some doubt, (and try to) steal one from them". "Toronto included, the youth that is in the league is just fantastic". Joonas Korpisalo stopped 30-of-32 shots to earn the win for the Jackets, who are set for a first-round matchup against Pittsburgh.
After some scoreboard watching, the Washington Capitals finally know who they will be facing in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Jarry didn't make it to Toronto in time for the skate, but it is probably safe to assume that he'll dress as the backup goaltender Saturday.
The Capitals won the season series against the Leafs, 3-1. Boston has 95 points, but owns the tie-breaker, so the Leafs would have to win both games to pass the Bruins.
The Leafs will no doubt play hard to try and avoid playing the best team in the National Hockey League. We still have business to take care of (on Sunday), but a big night for us.
No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen sat out Sunday after exiting a playoff-clinching win against Pittsburgh on Saturday following a hit to the head. Mike Condon was charged with three of the Senators' six giveaways. Zaitsev was ruled out with an upper-body injury but Polak did return after missing the first six minutes of the third, and only played one shift.
Point opened the scoring 7:34 into the second period when he found room in the high slot on a power play, beating Andersen for his 15th goal of the season. That, combined with a potential Maple Leafs loss, would have set up an incredible set of games for Sunday.