Sorry Leafs fans; Sidney Crosby will play vs

Doug Mendoza
April 20, 2017

They clinched their first berth in four years and second since 2004 with a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

Andersen will not dress on Sunday night at the Air Canada Centre when the Leafs conclude the 2016-17 regular season against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"Obviously everyone wants to win and I don't know if you can say we're nervous", Maple Leafs veteran Leo Komarov said, "but maybe we need to be a little bit sharper and just go from there". "There's pressure on every team to make the playoffs, not just us".

"They probably wanted it more than us", said Auston Matthews, who needs one goal to become only the fourth rookie in National Hockey League history to score 40 before age 20, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Another handful, including Gardiner, Nazem Kadri, and Tyler Bozak, have just a single playoff series under their belts, that one coming during the Leafs last playoff appearance in 2013.

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 we'll all be watching them pretty close", Point said. "So they came out hard and got a couple of good breaks and it is what it is". He doesn't want them overwhelmed by the challenge of beating the Stanley Cup defending champion Penguins or the Blue Jackets.

I feel as though this game will go to whoever can dominate on the offensive end of the ice. They played inspired hockey for most of the season and are a true wild card in these playoffs.

Curtis McElhinney made 29 saves, but Toronto let a 2-0 lead melt away in a porous second period.

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Toronto needed a point to avoid the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs and draw the Ottawa Senators instead. The Senators beat the Rangers on Saturday to lock up second in the Atlantic and home-ice advantage in the first round.

The Leafs went 1-1-1 against the Caps in the regular season.

Having played five games in the final seven days of the season, a day off Monday will give the Maple Leafs a chance to collect themselves before the real work begins. "That's when it's a totally different program though". We're not that far behind however as we sit fifth with a power play percentage of 22.9%. We're going to have to make sure it doesn't come down to a penalty kill and we have to capitalize on most opportunities we can get.

Frederik Andersen was taken out of the game thanks to this hit from Tom Sestito to start the second period.

Babcock said Andersen suffered no concussion symptoms from the hit and would be ready for the start of the post-season.

With a win, the Leafs will clinch a playoff spot.

James van Riemsdyk scored two goals in 4 minutes and 33 seconds. He's gone 45-28-5 with a 2.37 GAA, .917 save percentage and eight shutouts in 78 AHL games over his first two seasons.

If you were writing a script about turning the page on a new chapter in Leafs history, it'd involve overcoming those obstacles and winning anyway thanks to three third-period goals, all scored by Leafs rookies. Calvert got the first with a weak backhand between McElhinney's pads, Anderson followed up off the rush and Atkinson got the go-ahead marker short-handed. He set a Leafs rookie record for minutes this season. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 30 shots for the Jackets, set for a first-round series with Pittsburgh.

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