Skill wins in the regular season but the Toronto Maple Leafs need to be more physical when the playoffs start if they want to win a Stanley Cup this year.
The Toronto Maple Leafs don’t have to shift their entire philosophy to compete for a Stanley Cup this season but they should be cognizant of what has stopped them from succeeding in year’s past.
Although you could argue that the Boston Bruins, Game 7’s and terrible comeback’s have been Toronto’s Achilles heel, not being physical enough has really hurt them.
Just look at last year’s playoffs and the goal that Montreal scored in Game 6. Travis Dermott was scared to absorb a hit and ultimately gave a puck away that turned into the overtime winner. Dermott was taught to turn away from the hit and try to get rid of the puck, but if he was more physical, maybe that goal wouldn’t have happened.
Also, we’ve seen Auston Matthews get rag-dolled behind the net in the playoffs and instead of engaging physically, he’s laughing.
As a player who’s 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Matthews needs to get into that players face and intimidate him. Although Toronto thinks their smart because they’re getting a power-play, that’s not going to win in a seven game series for four straight rounds.
You can’t get pushed around in the playoffs for four rounds and win. You can definitely win one round off skill, but sooner than later that’s going to catch up to you.
As a result, here are three players that would really help the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs: