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Toronto Maple Leafs clinch 2013 playoff spot

Apr 20, 2013, 9:57 PM EDT

jvrandkesselgetty Getty Images

If you just heard a huge cheer coming from the general Ontario area, you might not be mistaken. The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Saturday to clinch their first playoff berth since the 2003-04 season.

The NHL’s longest playoff drought now belongs to the Edmonton Oilers (they haven’t made it since they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup finals).

Like many nights this season, the Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk combo fueled the offense (Kessel assisted on two JVR goals) while James Reimer was the biggest difference-maker (49 out of 50 saves).

You’ll probably read plenty of “the last time Toronto made the postseason” jokes and facts in the next hour or so, but here’s an especially good one from The Score to whet your appetite:

At this moment, the Maple Leafs hold the fifth seed in the East, but that can change (especially if the New York Islanders remain hot). Regardless, plenty of Toronto fans probably feel euphoric just to have this conversation once again.

  1. Stiller43 - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Theoretically leafs could still win the NE and have a habs-b’s first round.

    • handsofsweed - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:10 PM

      Montreal already clinched NE. The only way you get Habs v Bruins in round 1 is if Boston just completely falls apart and ends up as the seven seed.

      • handsofsweed - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:12 PM

        Nope. I was wrong about the clinching part for Montreal, but right about one way you could possibly see habs v b’s in round 1. Neither scenario is likely, though.

  2. Stiller43 - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    (I say this not know their respective remaining schedules)

    If the leafs win the NE, theres no way current number 2 seed MTL falls to 4 and current number 4 BOS falls to 5? (Or the seedings flip flopped?)

    • sunderlanding - Apr 21, 2013 at 2:59 AM

      Yes there is, because the number three seed is there because of the division the play in. If the Leafs win the NE the current number two mmediately falls to number four. That would put Boston and Montreal in four and five. It has to be that way because of the division leaders. The Leafs won’t win the division anyway so it doesn’t matter, but if they did Boston and Montreal would become four and five.

  3. mclovinhockey - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Finally!!! This fan base deserves the playoffs!!

    Congrats leafs and their fans.
    I may dislike your team but I can’t deny your passion. Hope they do well.

  4. buffalo65 - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Hoping for a Montreal Toronto playoff. Fan of neither but it would be fun.

  5. valoisvipers - Apr 20, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Good for the Leaf fans, it’s been a long time for them.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Apr 21, 2013 at 1:45 AM

      Kids all over Ontario are asking their parents what this means. And by kids, I mean anyone not quite of drinking age. And if they make the finals (LOL), people will flock to retirement homes to hear tales of the last time.

  6. lameasish - Apr 20, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    I’m looking forward till when a team like the leafs that has more points than the caps, gets a higher seed, I’m pretty sure next season division leaders won’t matter anymore and it’s about damn time, it’s one of the dumbest rules in sports. Playoffs need to be decided by the top 8 in the conference. It’s similar to the NFL when a 8-8 team makes the playoffs over a 10-6 team.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 21, 2013 at 3:40 AM

      I believe you’re incorrect, starting next year I believe the top 3 in each division are guaranteed playoff spots, the final 2 spots will be decided by points. So in theory you could see an entire 8 team division have more points than every team in another division but only the top 5 will make the playoffs. But at least we’ll see the return of divisional playoff series.

  7. acieu - Apr 21, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    Free Brian Burke

  8. ethanmacleod1685 - Apr 21, 2013 at 3:52 AM

    How has this not got more comments, this is a pretty big achievement !

    • kitshky - Apr 21, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      Not really, its a significant achievement maybe, but not a “big” achievement.

      Its nothing short of an embarrassment that a franchise with their history, fan base, and value can’t even simply make the Playoffs more than once every 10 years or so…

  9. kingjoffrey19 - Apr 21, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    GO LEAFS GO!
    BRING ON THE HABS

  10. hines86for6 - Apr 21, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    As a preds fan, it’s nice to see a non traditional playoff team make it in the post season once in a while.

    • kitshky - Apr 21, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      ^ ^ This, all day this.

      +1

  11. inhokewetrust - Apr 21, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    I’m sure Toronto ownership is soooo happy…the leafs during the regular season make 2.3 million dollars….but during the playoffs they make a STAGERING 6.1 million dollars….to the rest of the NHL….WE’RE NUMBER 1…in profits

  12. flyersfan67 - Apr 21, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    What a joke. When did making the playoffs cause celebration. I get the fact that the leafs are so pathetic and haven’t made the playoffs in nine years but come on. All this has done is give them four extra games to play. Going nowhere. Don’t have the depth or scoring or goaltending and to make matters worse there system is imploding just as the season is ending. Giving up 45 to 50 shots a night, sound like a recipe for success in the playoffs

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