Lucas Viveiros | The Avro Post
That’s all it takes for the Toronto Maple Leafs to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the second straight season following Wednesday’s action.
It was far from a straight-forward night for the Buds, as they overcame two third period deficits, and tied the game with shortly over 15 seconds to play to take the win 6-5 in a shootout.
The win extends their franchise-record home win streak to 11 games.
James Van Riemsdyk was the teams high flyer as he capitalized with three goals, 29 on the season, to pass Auston Matthews (28) for the team lead. Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau also added a goal a piece.
But there was some cause for concern midway through the game, as their star net-minder Fredrick Andersen left the game with what coach Mike Babcock calls an “upper-body injury.”
It was late in the first period when former Montreal Canadiens’ player Alexander Radulov, fell on top of Andersen, leaving him slow to get up.
Andersen played close to 15 minutes following the incident, but then during a TV timeout was escorted to the locker room and did not return.
Curtis McElhinney was called upon in relief, and turned aside 13 saves on 15 shots, as well as stopping both he faced in the shootout.
The Leafs will look to McElhinney to continue his hot play, as they prepare for the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Thursday night.
Puck drop is 7:00 p.m. from Buffalo on TSN 4.
More news from the ice
- Forward Andreas Johnsson skated in his first NHL game and looked as quick as he has been made out to be, playing a long side Kasperi Kapanen and Tomas Plekanec
- Curtis McElhinney improved to 5-0-1 in his last 7 games, with a 1.63 GAA, and .945 SV%
- After the victory the Leafs matched their franchise record for the most wins through their first 70 games of a season
- Following the win the Maple Leafs called up goaltender Garret Sparks from their American Hockey League affiliate Toronto Marlies
- James Van Riemsdyk will try to become the first Maple Leaf to score 30 goals this season on Thursday night
- Auston Matthews continues to recover from a shoulder injury, and no update has been provided on a timeline for his return
More coverage to follow. Image of players from the Maple Leafs website.