The spoiler role: Maple Leafs fail to clinch playoff berth after loss to Capitals

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Talk about spoiling the party.

The Toronto Maple Leafs — remember, they’re in a rebuild — had a chance to clinch a playoff spot on Tuesday.

They received help from out of town, with the Boston Bruins defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning and delivering a heavy blow to the Bolts’ already slim post-season chances, but the Maple Leafs needed to defeat the Washington Capitals and that’s where the celebration was halted.

Alex Ovechkin didn’t score but delivered some bone-crunching body checks and the Capitals dealt the Maple Leafs a 4-1 defeat in Toronto. The wait in Toronto for a post-season berth continues.

The Capitals were unable to clinch the Presidents’ Trophy due to the fact Pittsburgh defeated Columbus tonight.

Mike Babcock and company hold a five-point lead on the Bolts, with those teams facing each other on Thursday. Both teams have played 79 games.

The margin for error for the Bolts is razor thin.

Meanwhile, despite their struggles of late, the Ottawa Senators inched closer to a playoff spot thanks to a 2-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

Erik Karlsson returned to the lineup and had an immediate impact with a goal and an assist, while Clarke MacArthur also made his return after a surprise announcement earlier in the day.

The Sens, dealing with a plethora of injuries, move back into second in the Atlantic Division with 94 points — six clear of the Bolts — in 79 games.