Leafs Eliminated From Playoff Race; Flyers, Wild Clinch Postseason Berths

Phil Kessel; Dean MortonThe Toronto Maple Leafs lost 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, which combined with the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 4-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in overtime has eliminated the Original Six club from the playoff race.

This marks the eighth time in the last nine seasons that Toronto has missed the playoffs. Toronto ended its seven-year playoff drought last season, but it surrendered a 4-1 lead in the third period of Game 7 of the first round to the Boston Bruins and lost in overtime.

The Coyotes’ loss gave the Minnesota Wild one of the two wild-card playoff berths in the Western Conference. They clinched the seventh seed in the West with a 4-3 shootout win over the Boston bruins later in the night.

The Philadelphia Flyers were the other team to clinch a spot in the postseason Tuesday night with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. The Flyers likely will play the New York Rangers in Round 1 and can still climb over their Metropolitan Division rivals and secure home ice with a strong finish to the regular season. Philadelphia missed the playoffs last season and started 1-7-0 in 2013-14, but a strong second half propelled the team back to the postseason.

The Detroit Red Wings beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Tuesday night and can clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

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