x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

NHL: Joy for Toronto Maple Leafs as Reimer guides them to first play-offs in nine years

The Toronto goalie notched up 49 saves as his side beat Ottawa 4-1 to secure a play-offs berth for the first time since 2004.

Toronto goalie James Reimer stops a shot by ottawa Senators' Mike Zibanejad.
Toronto goalie James Reimer stops a shot by ottawa Senators' Mike Zibanejad.

The Toronto Maple Leafs reached the Stanley Cup play-offs for the first time since 2004 on Saturday night thanks to a 4-1 win over Ottawa Senators.

An impressive performance from netminder James Reimer, who notched up 49 saves, ended the Canadian side's long exile from the NHL postseason.

"This is unbelievable," Reimer said. "This is the hockey you always want to play and dream of when you're growing up. And especially for our city, I know they're anxious for it. It's great to finally clinch."

Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri had one goal apiece for the Leafs, who had lost their last two games.

Jakob Silfverberg scored Ottawa's lone goal, while Senators goalie Craig Anderson allowed all four Toronto goals.

Randy Carlyle, the Leafs coach, said the team had focused throughout the lockout-shortened season on booking a playoff spot.

"We're trying to earn respect for our group," Carlyle said. "That, to me, is the most important thing. For us to qualify (for the playoffs), that's a feather in all the players' caps."

Pittsburgh's fondness for TD Garden continued as they scored a sixth successive win there, with a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Jussi Jokinen, Kris Lang and Jarome Iginla (power play) were on target for the Penguins in a game scheduled for Friday but postponed due to the manhunt for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer scored two goals apiece as Stanley Cup play-off hopefuls the Washington Nationals brushed aside the Montreal Canadiens 5-1.

Nicklas Backstrom (power play) also netted to put the Nationals 5-0 ahead and on the way to a ninth win in 10 games, before Max Pacioretty grabbed a consolation for the Canadiens.

Wayne Simmonds' hat-trick was the highlight as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3.

Matt Read and Jakub Voracek were also on target in the road win, with Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk and Eric Staal replying for the Hurricanes at PNC Arena.

John Tavares scored the deciding goal in the shoot-out as the New York Islanders improved their chances of making the postseason with a 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.

The New Jersey Devils kept their outside hopes of postseason involvement alive by coming from 2-0 down to inflict a 6-2 defeat on the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center, while the Vancouver Canucks clinched a play-off berth with a 2-1 shoot-out victory over the Detroit Red Wings at Rogers Arena.

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