There was no shortage of drama between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
The Maple Leafs came back to win, clinching a playoff berth and officially eliminating Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders from contention.
However, there is concern for the status of Toronto’s starting goalie Frederik Andersen, who left the game early in the second period after a collision with Tom Sestito in front of the crease and didn’t return.
In his first season with the Maple Leafs, Andersen has been solid with 33 wins, four shut outs and a .918 save percentage in 3,800 minutes.
Mike Babcock didn’t have an update on Andersen after the game, saying only that, “Ideally he’ll start” in the team’s regular season finale against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.
While the Maple Leafs have locked up a playoff position, tomorrow’s game is still important because it will determine which team they face in the opening round. They’re currently third in the Atlantic with 95 points. The Boston Bruins have the same point total, but their regular season is over.
A single point for the Maple Leafs on Sunday would ensure they remain third in the division and would pit them against the Ottawa Senators.
However, a regulation loss to the Blue Jackets would mean the Maple Leafs fall into the second wild card spot, per the Toronto Star. That would put them up against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, who have won nine of their last 10 games and lead the league with 118 points.
Curtis McElhinney took over from Andersen and made some huge saves — none bigger than a left-pad stop on Sidney Crosby in the final minute to preserve the win. His performance didn’t go unnoticed.
“In a big game, that’s important to our players and our team, but to our city, as well,” said the coach.