Toronto Maple Leafs salute fans following the team's NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Toronto on Saturday, April 8, 2017.
Asked about pressure on his young team heading into the playoffs on Sunday morning Leafs coach Mike Babcock deflected with apparent aim at the Capitals. I thought that was a big boost. Even one of the best in the business can be done in by all that offensive pace the Leafs can produce. "I think for the most part the battles and the opportunities to rise to the occasion will present themselves; you can't go out looking for it and get yourself all out of whack and make yourself too wound up".
Connor Brown scored the game-winner on a deflection at 17:12 after former Penguin Kasperi Kapanen picked up his first National Hockey League goal at 14:30 courtesy of a no-look pass from Matt Hunwick. The moments get big and you've got to be able to push through it.
Auston Matthews added his 40th goal of the season, into an empty net, at 19:57. Goodness knows you've earned it after how much suffering you've had. The Maple Leafs expect him to be ready for Game 1, but if he's not they'll have to turn to Curtis McElhinney, who has never started a Stanley Cup Playoff game.
The Lightning have one game left, tomorrow vs the Sabres, and if they win it they'll get to 94 points.
Pittsburgh (50-20-11) had already clinched home-ice advantage for their first-round playoff series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"I'm not going to pick it apart or go into a lot of talk about my team right now, because it's so hard to judge it in these type of circumstances", Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. I think he's shown a lot of maturity with his game, especially early on.
This again: Holding onto leads is something the Maple Leafs haven't done with almost enough consistency this season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has one game left, but the games they don't control that will be the most nerve-wracking. But they can also get some help from their friends.More news: Manchester United, Buhari Send 'Condolence' To The Dead Football Fans In Calabar
Sidney Crosby has a four-goal cushion in the race for the Maurice Richard Trophy, which is presented to the player who leads the league in goals. "They're a risky team".
James van Riemsdyk has been on a tear these past two games.
Later in the period, Fleury stopped van Riemsdyk on a breakaway and again on a wraparound attempt. He has averaged 4.6 shots on goal per game over his past 18 games after averaging 3.6 in the first 64 games.
Nazem Kadri scored the only goal for Toronto, with Frederik Andersen surrendering four goals on 30 shots.
Matt Calvert backhanded the first goal past McElhinney, Josh Anderson tied the game with a rapid wrist shot aided by Jake Gardiner tripping at the blue line, and Cam Atkinson's shorthanded goal in the final minute was the second Toronto has allowed in the last five games.
The Leafs had an extra bounce to their step early against Columbus, fresh off the clinching victory over Pittsburgh. 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. Forwards Nick Bonino, Bryan Rust and Patric Hornqvist got the night off.
The Senators' postseason opponent remains unknown, but they have the luxury of resting players for Sunday's final regular-season game against the New York Islanders.
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