Maple Leafs top Penguins, clinch first playoff berth since 2013

Key storylines for the end of the NHL regular season

EAST: The Toronto Maple Leafs' loss to Columbus sends them to Washington to face the Presidents' Trophy-winning Capitals on the brutal Metropolitan Division side of the draw.

The Maple Leafs are appearing in the postseason for the first time since 2012-13 and second time since 2003-04. Should the Leafs end in a tie with Ottawa, they do own that tie-breaker. Edmonton's Connor McDavid needs three points for 100 on the season with two games remaining. The spotlight will be brighter in the playoffs, but he has responded to every challenge so far.

Toronto's William Nylander hit a goal post nearing the midpoint of the first.

Don't tell the Penguins' No. 81 that his team's 81st game of the season barely mattered. They are just too solid from front to back. That gave the youthful Maple Leafs three goals in the final 5:30 of the third period. He got lucky a little while later though, his innocent shot bouncing off a pair of Leafs defencemen before sliding through the pads of McElhinney for the 3-2 lead. Andrie Vasilevskiy played for the third straight game and stopped 27 shots. After taking some time to adjust, Shattenkirk has taken the Capitals power play to another level.

The Blue Jackets are still faltering down the stretch, as their loss to the Flyers on Saturday was their sixth in a row and their eighth in their last 10 games.

November 26: Washington 2, Toronto 4: The Capitals' first experience with the young Maple Leafs didn't go well. That's in sharp contrast to a year ago when they coasted over the final month of the season, going 7-5-4 in their final 16 games, and never were able to flip the switch and find their top level when the playoffs began.

No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen sat out Sunday after exiting a playoff-clinching win against Pittsburgh on Saturday following a hit to the head.

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- The Capitals have gone 8-1 in their last nine games against the Bruins. Fehr is sidelined with an undisclosed injury. An even second period in which the teams traded power-play goals - one for Toronto's Tyler Bozak and one for Sidney Crosby - followed.

Babcock said he expected Andersen to practice Monday and be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs against either Washington or Ottawa.

They already got a taste of the level of excitement they should expect in the coming week or two, with a super-charged atmosphere at ACC for Saturday's playoff-clinching win over Pittsburgh. The Leafs, however, never did have the consistent energy that Babcock thought he would see, and Columbus reeled off three goals by the end of the second, getting the victor from Cam Atkinson while shorthanded.

There will be no Battle of Ontario in the first round of the National Hockey League playoffs.

Before a game in which coach Mike Sullivan rested a half-dozen lineup regulars because of the Penguins' rock-solid spot in the standings, no one doubted Phil Kessel's participation in the matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre.

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. "And if not, they still get a lot of experience". The first step toward proving that is taking care of business in this series and then moving on to the next one.

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