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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Postgame: Battle of Ontari-no

Well, at least they’re still going to the playoffs.

Though we didn’t get the Battle of Ontario matchup that would’ve made for great TV, the Leafs head into round 1 against the Washington Capitals and that’s well, pretty “lit”.

The Leafs probably deserved better in this one, but hockey is hockey and being in the playoffs after 82 is much better than not being in the playoffs.

Here’s what went down:

The Rundown

The Leafs got out to an okay start in this one, though I can’t really say for sure. With one eye on the Masters and the other eye on the Leafs, the team felt their way through the first 20 minutes and ended up tied at 0-0 after one.

JVR hit quickly into the second with a pair of goals.

Within seven minutes of the second period, the Leafs were up by a pair and there was eventually a sold-out Canadian Tire Centre, with anticipation of a Leafs-Sens playoff series.

Regardless of where you stand on the rivalry, it’s hard to argue it would’ve been an incredible four contests to watch.

That uh, didn’t happen. Nikita Zaitsev went down injured, then Roman Polak shortly followed him. While Polak would return, Zaitsev wouldn’t, as the Toronto side finished with just five d-men.

Oh, and Columbus struck for three goals before the second period was over.

None were spectacular, but Matt Calvert, Josh Anderson and Cam Atkinson struck for the CBJ to give them a quick one-goal lead.

And that was that. The Leafs pushed hard in the third period, but ultimately fell short, losing 3-2 in their final regular season loss of the 2016-17 season.

The Stats

The Leafers tied the shot battle at 32 and dominated the possession battle. Sometimes it just isn’t your night.

Blue Warrior

James van Riemsdyk wins for the second night in a row. Let’s hope he continues this form into the playoffs.

Up next

For the second time in site history, TLN will be covering a playoff series. See you Wednesday/Thursday from Washington.

  • MartinPolak

    I hope Polak is healthy, as the leafs need him if there is a chance to beat Capitals.
    With Polak, I see the leafs winning in 6 or 7 games. Jeffler has me convinced the leafsareactuallygood and there is no stopping this team.

  • BarelyComments

    Obviously it’s disappointing but there is a part of me that thinks this might end up being the better outcome for this team in the long run. Sure, watching Leafs v Sens would have been more fun and it would have been nice to have a shot at winning a series. However, with how young this team is, there is a decent chance we would have lost to the Sens, and honestly, I don’t think you can compare the experience of a first round exit to a mediocre team (which probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs any other year) to the experience this team will take from facing a true Stanley Cup favourite in a seven game series. There won’t be any confusion about what sort of difficulties are found in the playoffs, if this team wants to win a championship at some point you’re going to have to go through a team like the Caps not like the Sens, better to figure that out now rather then next year.

  • lukewarmwater

    Adam, wow, i’m sure it was a tongue in cheek comment about only concentrating on half the game. But it indeed came across as weird to us the mere mortals who live our love for the leafs with baited breath as you pontificate your pearls of wisdom.

    • Glen

      Maybe a sweep for the buds if they get the injured D back otherwise five or six. Seriously I just hope they compete and make a series out of it. Watch out for train no. eight. GLG

  • Chelmsford Leafs

    If Ovechkin wins the Stanley Cup this year then he only has one glaring omission from his palmares. If he leads a revolt of overseas stars to the Olympics then maybe Canada and USA can put some pressure on the NHL and we will have a proper Olympic tournament.
    Would still rather see Leafs win a few play off rounds though