Leafs out of playoffs as Isles win in New Jersey
Toronto Maple Leafs fans could only watch in disbelief as the New York Islanders clinched a win against the New Jersey Devils, bumping the Leafs out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Islanders took the 3-2 victory after a hard-fought third period, an overtime period and a shootout.
With a win against arch-rivals the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night, the Leafs needed the Islanders to lose in order to move into the final playoff spot.
Leading up to Sunday afternoon's game, Leafs players were turning to prayer.
"I got to go to church Sunday," defenceman Bryan McCabe said Saturday night.
Sunday's game result means the Islanders continue into the playoffs and the Leafs will be hanging up their skates, shelving hopes they might be able to bring the Stanley Cup home after a 40-year absence.
New York got the first goal of the game at 11:53 in the first period off the stick of Richard Park.
Neither team would score a goal in the second period. Then in the third, Park put another in the New Jersey net at the 7:51 mark.
It was answered by the Devils' John Madden at 15:47, scoring the team's first goal of the game but leaving them trailing by one point.
As the clock counted down towards zero and with the New Jersey net empty, Madden stuffed the puck into the net with a mere 0.8 seconds left on the clock to tie the score and send the game into overtime.
Over five minutes of overtime play no goals were scored, forcing a second overtime and shootout.
Miroslav Satan and Viktor Kozlov, the first two shooters, scored for New York and Dubielewicz made poke saves on Brian Gionta and Sergei Brylin to send the Isles into the post-season.
The Isles with 92 points, just one point ahead of the Leafs, move on to occupy the eighth playoff spot. They will now meet the top-seeded Buffalo Sabres
With files from The Canadian Press