Rookies lead rally to clinch playoffs,Sparks recalled;Leafs vs Blue Jackets

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Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo, right, makes a save on Toronto Maple Leafs' James van Riemsdyk, center, as Columbus Blue Jackets' Scott Harrington defends during second period NHL hockey action in Toronto, on Sunday, April 9, 2017. Washington did their part by topping the Boston Bruins on Saturday April 8. Boston has 95 points, but owns the tie-breaker, so the Leafs would have to win both games to pass the Bruins.

In a smart and cautious move, though, the club has also confirmed that he won't make an appearance in the team's final game of the season, resting up following the scare as the Leafs take on the Columbus Blue Jackets without him. We just want to go out now and try to assert our game early in the series.

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.

Later in the period, Fleury stopped van Riemsdyk on a breakaway and again on a wraparound attempt. Former Capital Eric Fehr has 60 games worth, but he's hurt and unlikely to be available versus Washington. The Capitals have had more than their fair share of playoff misery in recent years, and that the Cup has eluded the grasp of Alex Ovechkin eats at the Russian superstar.

"I imagine back to backs are on a year-by-year rotation so if you have the most one year, the next year you get the least", Babcock said, tongue in cheek.

"No space. Zero. Battle for every inch of ice, from the opening faceoff to the end", said Babcock, who's coached 144 playoff games in the National Hockey League.

The Toronto Maple Leafs completed the Stanley Cup Playoffs field by clinching the 16th and last berth with a 5-3 win against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins at Air Canada Centre on Saturday.

Head coach Mike Sullivan didn't specify who would sit for the Penguins on Saturday evening, but confirmed that Crosby would indeed be in the lineup in a crucial game for the hometown Leafs. He's a guy who can score goals, but he plays away from the puck, he's strong on the puck, but he scores goals different ways. At the 6:41 mark, the Penguins had ran their total to just five shots on goal.

Babcock hopes his group dives in with no fear opposite a heavily-favoured opponent.

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"You look at a team like Tampa (Tampa Bay Lightning)".

"If you want to dip your toe into the water, you are going to find out it's boiling", Babcock said. There's no guarantees you're getting in.

The victory lifted the Leafs (40-26-15) into the National Hockey League playoffs for the first time in four years.

"We had to win it and the guys in here obviously knew that", Point said, "and I think we played like it".

Toronto's not expected to do much, conversely, beyond deliver some excitement this spring. They'll face either the Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington Capitals or the rival Ottawa Senators in the first round.

We'll miss you in the playoffs, Dallas. "I thought we started real good, I thought we were on it good and then as soon as something goes wrong".

Washington was already loaded at every position when it added Kevin Shattenkirk, an offensive ace from the back-end, at the trade deadline. Alexander Ovechkin had the OT victor in that game.

It'll be all the more hard if Andersen isn't at 100 per cent after exiting Saturday's clincher with an apparent injury.

"You've got to beat the best at some point", Gardiner concluded of the matchup, "so might as well do it in the first round".

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