Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Leafs clinch playoff berth with win over Pens; Frederik Andersen injured

The Edmonton Oilers will nearly certainly face the San Jose Sharks and with home-ice advantage.

At about this point previous year Leo Komarov had his bags packed and plane ticket home to Finland nearly ready to go, his Toronto Maple Leafs wrapping up a 30th-place season.

The Atlantic Division-champion Montreal Canadiens have home-ice advantage against the New York Rangers.

Babcock did not want to discuss what he told his youngsters but he did have an opinion on how they could lessen their anxiety - avoid the sports media. On Sunday morning, however, Babcock said that while Andersen was not exhibiting concussion symptoms, he would not dress for the game. "Run down the dock and jump right in and don't be putting your foot in the water, you might not get in". If there's momentary doubt, you push through it and you hit it down the middle and then get ready for the next shot.

"I was happy to get back".

The Maple Leafs dropped a 4-1 decision at home to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, which stopped them from from clinching a playoff spot. A victory would have secured that post-season ticket.

The Penguins missed out on a chance to reach 20 road wins for a 10th consecutive season, something they'll now try to do Sunday in NY.

The club discussed the need to play with more "confidence and poise" against the Penguins, elements that were mostly missing against the Lightning. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

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. They're skilled. They really push the pace and they can do it consistently all game. "We just have to make sure that doesn't happen again".

Man up: The series will feature two of the top four power plays in the League with the Maple Leafs ranking second at 23.8 percent and the Capitals are tied for third with the Penguins at 23.1 percent. The Toronto Maple Leafs are going back to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Mitch Marner shined at the Memorial Cup previous year and world junior championships before that.

Ovechkin peaking: Although Alex Ovechkin's 33 goals were his fewest in a full season since 2010-11, when he had 32, the Capitals forward has elevated his play over the past month with 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in his past 15 games and is playing his best hockey heading into the playoffs. Veterans like JVR, Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner have been huge for the Leafs this season and the team will need them to play at a high-level if they have any chance at knocking off the Caps.

The Leafs gradually took control of the first period and by the time it was done, had limited the Penguins to just seven shot attempts (including four shots on goal) while registering 23 of their own (with nine shots on goal).

Following a first period in which no goals were scored, the clubs combined for five in the second period.

"It's not going off the page", the 32-year-old said.

"To be honest with you, I didn't know the kids could be this good", Babcock said.

The Penguins played this one with a diluted lineup. That would be what I notice the most just watching him play. I think that's why we're having success. we're so excited, these are must wins for our team. "You've got to earn your way in and that's what it's all about". The moments get big and you've got to be able to push through it.

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