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Leafs’ loss sets up first-round matchup against Capitals

Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press | posted Monday, Apr 10th, 2017

The NHL playoff picture with the regular season ending Sunday:

EAST: The Toronto Maple Leafs’ loss to Columbus sends them to Washington to face the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals on the brutal Metropolitan Division side of the draw. It also means the Boston Bruins travel to Ottawa to open against the Senators. The Atlantic Division-champion Montreal Canadiens have home-ice advantage against the New York Rangers. The defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins have home ice against the Blue Jackets.

WEST: The Central Division champion Chicago Blackhawks open against the wild-card Nashville Predators, and the Minnesota Wild have home-ice advantage against former coach Mike Yeo and the St. Louis Blues. The Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers’ games Sunday determine the Pacific Division champion that will face the wild-card Calgary Flames, with the second-place finisher opening with home ice against the defending Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks.

– The Ducks, who are 10-0-3 in their past 13, need only a point in their finale Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings to wrap up their fifth consecutive Pacific Division title. If they lose in regulation and the Oilers beat the Vancouver Canucks in regulation or overtime, Edmonton finishes first.
– The NHL is expected to announce the first-round schedule once all games are completed Sunday night. The playoffs begin Wednesday.

Nine of the 16 playoff teams have a different coach than the one they began last season with: the Canadiens (Claude Julien), Senators (Guy Boucher), Penguins (Mike Sullivan), Blue Jackets (John Tortorella), Bruins (Bruce Cassidy), Wild (Bruce Boudreau), Blues (Mike Yeo), Ducks (Randy Carlyle) and Flames (Glen Gulutzan).

Four of the past 11 Cup champions made an in-season coaching change. Montreal, Boston and St. Louis are the three teams in this year to do that. … Connor McDavid is riding an NHL season-best 13-game point streak going into game 82 two short of 100.

The Capitals and Maple Leafs have never met in a playoff series. … Boston rookie defenceman Brandon Carlo left the team’s loss to the Capitals on Saturday after being injured on a hit by Alex Ovechkin.


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