Babcock said he told his coaching staff at the beginning of the season that if his club were to get into the postseason, it would take until Game 82, which comes Sunday against Columbus.
Versions of that saying were going around the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room on Friday, as they missed a great chance to clinch a playoff spot Thursday night, losing 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Washington Capitals' Justin Williams, center, and his teammates watch a replay of his goal which was eventually disallowed during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins in Boston, Saturday, April 8, 2017. No points means the Leafs play the Washington Capitals in the first round.
But with four consecutive wins and some timely Toronto Maple Leafs losses, the Islanders enter the final two days of the season still hanging on to hope.
"You knew he had the talent", Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said, "But sometimes it's just a matter of time before it translates to the National Hockey League and obviously he's wasted no time".
But as we are all aware, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are different.
"What's encouraging for us, these guys (rookies) that are new to this, they don't seem to care", Bolts' coach Jon Cooper said. Another handful, including Jake Gardiner, Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak have just a single playoff series under their belts, that one coming during the Leafs last playoff appearance in 2013.
Babcock, perhaps not surprisingly, plans to spend lots of time before Thursday's opener in D.C. detailing for his group what exactly is different about playoff hockey. Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman said, "we're at the point where we can't give up any points". The Leafs expect their starting netminder and defenceman Nikita Zaitsev to be ready for Game 1, the Russian defender forced to leave Sunday's game with an upper-body ailment. The Maple Leafs finish their regular-season schedule Sunday at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
India Home Minister appeals to all states to ensure safety of Kashmiris
As per reports, Kashmir students were harassed and beaten in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. I appeal to all the youth to consider them as their brothers.
At the Masters Golf tournament, Charley Hoffman leads the field after one day of play, shooting a 7-under 65 yesterday under hard conditions that included strong winds, and has built up a four shot lead over the rest of the field. "I didn't know the kids could be this good".
[On the young Leafs' impressive season] "They play with a lot of speed".
Toronto built a 2-0 lead early in the second period, but the Blue Jackets stormed back and ripped off three unanswered goals to take a 3-2 lead. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 30-of-32 shots to earn the win for the Jackets, who are set for a first-round matchup against Pittsburgh. That's in sharp contrast to a year ago when they coasted over the final month of the season, going 7-5-4 in their final 16 games, and never were able to flip the switch and find their top level when the playoffs began.
But would the Capitals be better off face one team or the other?
Jake Gardiner played a game-high of nearly 29 minutes with the blue line shorthanded, the Leafs late comeback effort falling just short. "For us older guys we've got a chance to win and for the youngest guys they battle for it right away". "Ideally, a couple of years from now, we'll be good enough to get in even if we have injuries".
Asked on Sunday if Andersen had any concussion symptoms, Babcock said: "No symptoms".
The Leafs had an extra bounce to their step early against Columbus, fresh off the clinching victory over Pittsburgh. The Blues will face the Wild, who won 3-1 on Saturday to gain home ice, in the first round.
Only three have real experience: Brian Boyle (100 games), James van Riemsdyk (46) and Roman Polak (49).