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Playoff Chase Ends For Leafs

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Matt Iaboni

April 5, 2011
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, ON
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Entering overtime, the Maple Leafs' playoff aspirations had ended as Thomas Vanek scored into the empty net for Buffalo giving them a 4-2 win and dashing any hope of the Leafs getting into the postseason.

The Leafs' knew that and with no winner in overtime the game went to a shootout. All four Leafs were stoppped and the fourth Capitals shooter, Mike Knuble roofed it on James Reimer for the winner.

300 Career goals for Alex Ovechkin.
50 Hits on the night for the Leafs.
39 Career points for Ovechkin against the Leafs in 22 games.
9 Points in his last eight games for Phil Kessel.
30 Goals for Nikolai Kulemin on the season. First time he has reached that milestone.
1st Star
James Reimer
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2nd Star
Alex Ovechkin
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3rd Star
Nikolai Kulemin
G A P +/- Shots
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It was another spectacular game for James Reimer. Although his and the Leafs' playoff chase ended, it was not for lack of Reimer heroics. He was especially good on Alex Ovechkin despite the sniper getting one past him in the first period.

Reimer finished the night with 39 saves inclduding 16 and 14 in the second and third respectively. He made a great diving stop on Marcus Johansson in the third period that got the crowd at the ACC on their feet.

Matt Lashoff has been very impressive since he was called up from the Toronto Marlies on March 15. In nine games with the Leafs, he has yet to record a point but is a plus three.

Tuesday, he was very physical on the big Capitals forwards as he had a season high five hits and two blocked shots. He has also been a good partner for Mike Komisarek as the duo has been very reliable for Ron Wilson. Lashoff has been a good addition to the Leafs' lineup.

While the Maple Leafs were on tear since February 1st going 18-7-6 for 42 points, they were never able to gain ground on the teams ahead of  them. In the same time frame, the Sabres were 18-8-5 for 41 points and didn't give an inch to allow the Leafs to pass them.

With the point on Tuesday, the Leafs now have 85 for the season. That is an 11 point increase from last season and means that Toronto will finish no lower than 10th in the Eastern Conference.

Ron Wilson on strides made by the Leafs during this stretch run:
"What they'll have to show for it is the whole run and something to build on for next year ... we pretty much have handled our own business over the last month or six weeks ... in the last two weeks you've got to give credit to Buffalo and the Rangers for getting the job done. We'll feel good about this and build on it, all the experience we gained playing in hard games and it's only going to make us better."

Wednesday, April 6 @ New Jersey Devils
  7 PM ET (TSN, AM640)

Game Notes:
The Maple Leafs play their final road game of the 2010-11 season against the New Jersey Devils. So far this season, the Leafs are 2-0-1. New Jersey won the last meeting back on February 10th in overtime.

The Devils were also in action Tuesday losing to Pittsburgh 4-2 for their second straight loss.

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