Maple Leafs' Frederik Andersen expected to start Game 1 of playoffs

Toronto Maple Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen exits Saturday’s win over the Pittsburgh Penguins THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

The Toronto Maple Leafs expect starting netminder Frederik Andersen to be in goal when the club makes its official return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs this week beginning in either Washington or Ottawa.

Head coach Mike Babcock announced a few short hours after the Maple Leafs had stamped their ticket with a thrilling come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Penguins that Andersen is not exhibiting signs and symptoms of a concussion, and that he should return to the ice on Monday for practice, according to David Alter of The Athletic.

Andersen will not, however, be in the crease on Sunday versus the Columbus Blue Jackets with a chance to secure a top-three seed in the Atlantic Division on the line. The stakes are high for the Maple Leafs as one point secured versus the Blue Jackets would result in a matchup with the Senators and averting the President’s Trophy-winning Washington Capitals in Round 1.

Curtis McElhinney will receive the start against his old club instead.

Andersen was knocked out of Saturday’s win when he was whacked in the head from the blindside by Penguins forward Tom Sestito. McElhinney made 12 saves, including a miraculous post-to-post denial on Sidney Crosby in the final seconds (the thump heard ’round the Air Canada Centre), to help preserve Toronto’s spot in the postseason.