NHL Three Stars: LEAFS WIN! LEAFS WIN! LEAFS WIN!

No. 1 Star: Curtis McElhinney, Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs backup netminder was pretty sure he wasn’t going to play in this super important game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Toronto needed two points to secure a playoff spot and the No. 1 is indisputably Frederik Andersen. That is until Freddy was bonked in the noggin by Tom Sestito’s butt and left the game. McElhinney came on in relief. He held on to give the Leafs a 5-3 win and clinch that playoff spot.

No. 2 Star: Kasperi Kapanen, Toronto Maple Leafs

With five and a half minutes to go and the Leafs down a goal, Kapanen scored his first ever NHL goal in the most epic way. It tied the game at 3-3 and was the first of three straight scored by Toronto in the win.

No. 3 Star: Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders

By defeating the New Jersey Devils 4-2, the Isles staved off playoff elimination albeit for a very short time. Halak made 37 saves in the victory; however, the Isles would be eliminated after Toronto’s win.

Honorable Mention: Auston Matthews iced the game for Toronto hitting an open net for his 40th goal of the year. Jake Guentzel’s two points against the Leafs give him a total of 33 points in 40 games this year. Sidney Crosby picked up his 44th goal … The St. Louis Blues clinched third place in the Central by beating the Carolina Hurricanes in a shootout … Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mark Stone earned two points each in the Ottawa Senators 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers. The win cemented second place in the Atlantic for the Sens … The Dallas Stars’ season from hell came to an end by beating the Colorado Avalanche in a shootout … Justin Williams had a goal and an assist in the Washington Capitals 3-1 defeat of the Boston Bruins. Williams would have had a three points if he wasn’t caught spinning around Anton Khudobin in his crease:

… The Edmonton Oilers clinched at least second in the Pacific Division and can possibly win it after beating the Vancouver Canucks, 3-2 … Dustin Brown scored with 55 seconds to go to tie the game with the Chicago Blackhawks. A mere 27 seconds into overtime, Drew Doughty netted the OT winner to give the Kings their last home victory of the season. Jonathan Toews snapped an eight game goal-less drought … Anders Lee scored two of the four goals for New York while Nick Leddy assisted on both of his goals. Beau Bennett scored both goals for New Jersey … Charlie Lindgren (who??) was in net for the Montreal Canadiens against the Detroit Red Wings. Lindgren earned his second win the NHL with 25 saves. Alex Galchenyuk scored the OT winner …

… With the San Jose Sharks beating the Calgary Flames 3-1, the Sharks are guarnateed the third spot in the Pacific Division. Curtis Lazar netted his first goal as a member of the Calgary Flames. Picking up an assist in the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators, Mark Scheifele finished the season with 82 points (32-50=82) in 79 games … James Reimer shutout the Buffalo Sabres with 30 saves. Jonathan Huberdeau scored two goals in the Florida Panthers 3-0 victory … The Minnesota Wild set a franchise record in wins and points in a season as they beat the Arizona Coyotes, 3-1. Martin Hanzal reached the 20th goal mark for the first time in his career and it came against his former team.

Did You Know?

Dishonorable Mention: Andersen skated off slowly after taking the hit from Sestito. Mike Babcock offered no definitive update on Andersen in the post-game and said hopefully the goaltender will start on Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets … After losing to the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2, the Blue Jackets are on a six game losing streak … Anton Khudobin played two periods before leaving with an illness and was replaced by Tuukka Rask. Brandon Carlo exited the game after playing only four minutes due to a massive hit by Alex Ovechkin that smashed Carlo’s face into the boards: