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Saturday FTB: Guess who got eliminated from the NHL playoffs first

The Habs face the Leafs tonight with nothing to play for

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 21: Cole Caufield #22 of the Montreal Canadiens stands on the ice during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL game at the Bell Centre on February 21, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout to put them a full 38 points ahead of the last place Montreal Canadiens in the East. The Habs only have 18 games (36 potential points) left in their season, so by definition, they are out of the playoffs. In fact, they are officially the first team out of the playoffs, with Arizona left with a magic number of 7 (points lost) before they are eliminated as well.

Katya did some digging into whether the Canadiens were the first team in NHL history to be the last team eliminated in the playoffs one year (losing in the finals), before ending up the first team eliminated the following season. We can’t say for certain, but we are fairly certain the Habs are the first team to ever do this in the Expansion Era (post 1967). Impressive stuff.

In Leafs prospect news, Nick Abruzzese is probably on his way to Toronto very soon after his team Harvard were eliminated in the NCAA men’s hockey tournament. He’ll be expected to sign an ELC shortly. At his age of 22, he must sign a two-year ELC with the Leafs. Can’t be three. Can’t be one. So if anyone’s hearing anything about the contract negotiations, know they heard it from the CBA.

Meanwhile, fellow prospect Matthew Knies won’t be joining him just yet as he led a comeback for Minnesota against UMass before ultimately winning in overtime. Knies’ NCAA career stays alive another few days as he moves onto the quarterfinals. Minnesota plays Western Michigan this Sunday.

In Leafs practice news, Timothy Liljegren was added to the second power play unit next to partner Mark Giordano yesterday, with Ilya Mikheyev coming off the unit. Liljegren had been taken off both special teams recently with the acquisition of Giordano, which left him only getting 13 minutes at 5v5 a night, while Giordano played 18 with power play and penalty kill. This move is just meant to give Liljegren a little more ice time and even out the usage for everyone.

And finally, this story out of Calgary where the Flames are suing their insurance company over pandemic losses.

“The presence of COVID-19 and the COVID-19 virus in the Saddledome during NHL games made the normal use of the Saddledome impossible for almost two years,” reads the statement of claim filed at the Calgary courthouse earlier this month.

Happy Saturday everyone, it’s the start of a full weekend of Toronto hockey. Leafs on Saturday. Marlies on Saturday. Leafs on Sunday. Knies on Sunday.