Published April 20, 2013
OTTAWA – James Reimer put in a monstrous effort with 49 saves and the Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2004 with a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
James van Riemsdyk scored twice, and Nazem Kadri and Joffrey Lupul also had goals for the Maple Leafs, who needed to earn a point and get a little help from the New York Islanders to make the playoffs.
New York briefly pulled into a tie with Toronto for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a 5-4 shootout win over Winnipeg before the Leafs (55) moved back ahead by two points.
Jakob Silfverberg scored and Craig Anderson stopped 18 shots for the Senators, who trail the Islanders by a point.
Reimer, who has been stellar in recent weeks, continued to dominate the Senators, improving his overall record against Ottawa to 8-1-1 and a perfect 6-0 at Scotiabank Place.
With Ottawa dominating on the shot count but trailing 2-1, Kadri gave the Maple Leafs a two-goal lead with a shot at 14:11 of the third that Anderson should have stopped.
Lupul then put the game away for good with a breakaway goal that Anderson got a piece of with less than two minutes to go.
After a scoreless first period, the Leafs led 2-1 heading into the third thanks to a pair of goals by van Riemsdyk. The big left-winger opened the scoring at 8:22 with a deflection on a Cody Franson point shot before doubling the Toronto lead on the power play by shoveling home a rebound at 12:24.
After some great pressure in the Toronto end late in the second, the Senators were rewarded when Silfverberg's shot from just inside the blue-line beat Reimer with 42.7 seconds remaining in the period.
The Senators outshot the Leafs 17-5 in the first, but many of those came from the outside.
The Maple Leafs looked to have taken a 1-0 lead midway through the period, but a potential goal was called back due to incidental contact by Toronto's Leo Komarov on Anderson.
Minutes later, Erik Condra had two great chances on Reimer but put the puck directly into the Toronto goalie's pads.
Notes: With his assist on the Maple Leafs' second goal, Kessel now has six goals and eight assists over his last eight games. ... Saturday was the fifth and final meeting of the regular season between the two teams. Toronto won the season series 4-1. ... C Jim O'Brien, C Peter Regin, LW Guillaume Latendresse, D Mike Lundin and D Andre Benoit were healthy scratches for the Senators. Ottawa is without C Jason Spezza (upper-body injury, day-to-day), C Mike Hoffman (collarbone, indefinitely) and D Erik Karlsson (Achilles, indefinite). ... C Joe Colborne, RW Matt Frattin, LW Ryan Hamilton, D Jake Gardiner and D Michael Kostka were healthy scratches for Toronto.