Maple Leafs blow lead, draw Capitals in first round

Credit Courtesy          FINISHING TOUCH David Pastrnak and John Michael Liles congratulate Tuukka Rask after the B’s win last night

"It's a matter of doing it consistently and doing it the right way".

Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy talks to his players during the third period of their 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, April 8, 2017.

Kadri, Gardiner, Bozak, Riemsdyk and Leo Komarov are the only remaining members of the Leafs last playoff team in 2013.

Marc-Andre Fleury started in goal for the Penguins but dropped to 7-1-2 in his last 10 decisions at Toronto, 12-4-2 in his last 18 decisions overall against the Leafs. Rielly admitted there were times it was no fun reporting for work.

The Leafs have had some injury scares in net, most recently with Andersen leaving Saturday's playoff-clinching game against the Penguins. "But it's all part of the grind".

"So let's go to work".

"So we did it". On a season-best 13-game point streak, Edmonton's Connor McDavid needs two in the finale for 100 on the season. Two seasons ago, they had 99 ...

Presumptive Calder Trophy victor Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander all reached the maximum $850,000 of their Schedule A bonuses according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston, and Matthews also attained the total $2 Million of his Schedule B bonuses.

However, not many expected to see a playoff spot this fast.

November 26: Washington 2, Toronto 4: The Capitals' first experience with the young Maple Leafs didn't go well. No one will be surprised if Marner or Nylander are finalists behind Matthews.

The Leafs could have restored a one-goal lead late in the third period, but Zach Hyman fanned while looking at mostly an empty net.

"Obviously (Matthews) is a special talent", Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. Former Capital Eric Fehr has 60 games worth, but he's hurt and unlikely to be available versus Washington. In January, Washington fell behind to Toronto but fought back to win in overtime.

Jake Guentzel reclaimed the lead for the Penguins nearly seven minutes into the third period with an unassisted goal that bounced off two Maple Leafs players on its way to the net. That, too, played into their success. "They're the young, up-and-coming team and they've played very, very well and deserve to be in the playoffs". "Being around everyone on a day-to-day basis is often an area where you have to be comfortable. Our focus is just playing well tonight, winning, and keeping a good feeling going".

The Andersen injury is a major concern for obvious reasons: Without him and what he has done in the regular season, the Leafs wouldn't have been fighting for a playoff spot on the final weekend of the 2016-17 schedule. It's possible the series will start Thursday in Washington, with Game 2 Saturday at the Verizon Center. The 27-year-old put together another impressive campaign this season, leading the league in wins (42) and shutouts (nine) while helping Washington to an NHL-best team goals-against average of 2.16.

This again: Holding onto leads is something the Maple Leafs haven't done with almost enough consistency this season. You just have to play right and we're excited for the challenge.

Even in a profession rife with obsessive characters, Babcock is a driven sort.

"I think, probably this summer, we'll have a spiced rum by the lake and get a chance to do that", he said.

Captain Derek MacKenzie and Denis Malgin scored for Florida, which got a 38-save shutout from James Reimer in Tom Rowe's final game as coach.

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