Toronto Maple Leafs will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs

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Bring on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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For the first time, the Maple Leafs and Lightning will meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

That became fact on Friday night when the Leafs concluded the best regular season in team history with a 5-2 win against the Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Arena.

The Bruins’ failure to gain any points ensured that they would not catch Tampa for third place in the Atlantic Division.

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So it will be the second-place Leafs and Lightning, who just happen to be the two-time defending Cup champions, in the opening round. Game 1 of the best-of-seven will be in Toronto on Monday night.

William Nylander scored two goals for the Leafs on Friday, enabling him to reach 80 points in a season for the first time in his National Hockey League career.

The Leafs finished with a record of 54-21-7 for 115 points. The wins and points are the most in franchise history.

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The Leafs and Lightning beat each other twice in four meetings this season, and each team won once on the road and at home.

On Nov. 4, the Leafs won 2-1 in overtime in Toronto on a goal by Nylander. Just over a month later, the Lightning won 5-3 in Toronto.

On April 4, an Auston Matthews hat trick drove the Leafs to a 6-2 win in Tampa; last Thursday, the Lightning won 8-1 in a laugher at home.

And if you’re worried about that beating, remember what Tampa coach Jon Cooper said after: “Don’t read too much into it. It was one game.”

Matthews was the leading Leafs scorer against the Lightning, recording seven points in three games. Mitch Marner was second with five points in three games. For Tampa, captain Steven Stamkos had nine points in four games to lead the Lightning. Ondrej Palat was next with six points in four games.

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Though Jack Campbell has rebounded well in the Leafs net since returning from a rib injury, there’s no doubt that the Lightning has the edge in net with Andrei Vasilevskiy.

In 23 career games against the Leafs, Vasilevskiy has a record of 13-8-2 with a .921 save percentage.

Neither the Leafs nor the Bruins took the chance of having their best players get injured, so the majority of bold-face names didn’t play.

For the Leafs, Matthews, Marner and captain John Tavares were spectators. Jack Campbell’s job was only to back up Kallgren.

Four Leafs — Morgan Rielly, TJ Brodie, David Kampf and Alex Kerfoot — played in all 82 games.

The Bruins rested captain Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Taylor Hall, Erik Haula, Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm and Matt Grzelcyk.

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The Leafs held a 3-1 lead at the end of first period on goals by Ilya Mikheyev, Nylander and Nick Abruzzese, who got his first in the NHL. Pierre Engvall scored into an empty net.

Trent Frederic and Jake DeBrusk scored for the Bruins.

Kallgren made 24 saves.

Twelve Leafs, including Matthews, Marner and Nylander, set personal highs in points this season.

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Make no mistake — the Leafs will be judged on how they fare in the playoffs. At the same time, one can’t put the strides the Leafs made in the past seven months to the side.

Were there any revelations for Keefe regarding his group? Did they meet expectations? Pass them?

After winning just two of their first seven games, and with calls for changes increasing, the Leafs got it right with in an overtime win in Chicago on Oct. 27 and then lost just twice in November, setting the foundation for the team records to fall.

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“I didn’t take any sort of time to put any expectations on points or wins,” Keefe said. “We knew we were going to be in a competitive and tough division, to the point that we felt going into it that even making the playoffs was going to be a challenge.

“We solidified ourselves after a tough start. We can’t help but be proud of the work that the guys did to put us in this position in a very difficult time, in response to last season, with some changes to our group.

“There’s lots of really great things to feel good about what the team did. The goal was to win the division and we didn’t get that done. Part of that is on us, we left some points on the table. And part of that is that the Florida Panthers have been outstanding from start to finish.

“Our team did a lot of really good things and grew in a lot of areas that give us confidence.”

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