3 Toronto Maple Leafs That Need to Step Up Their Game Before it’s Too Late

Time for the big boys to raise their game to another level for the Leafs. It’s now or never.
Nov 2, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares (91) celebrates
Nov 2, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares (91) celebrates / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

With the Toronto Maple Leafs hanging by the thread after being put on the brink of elimination by the pesky Boston Bruins on Saturday, they will need to somehow find a way to get themselves back into the series.

Just like in most of the previous playoff matchups against Boston, the Toronto Maple Leafs seem to have no answer to the Bruins’ solid offense, defense and goaltending.

So what can the Leafs do to change their fortunes around?

Who needs to start stepping up their game big time to potentially make a series-altering difference for the team?

3 Toronto Maple Leafs That Need to Step Up Their Game Before it’s Too Late

One of those players needs to be captain John Tavares. With the bulk of the Bruins’ top defenders focus in shutting down the Leafs top line, Tavares needs to find a way to make Boston start to worry about another potential offensive threat.

With only one goal to show for in four games, that is just not good enough, especially for one of the best players in the game for the past decade. The Leafs desperately need the relentless Tavares that scored the series-clincher against the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, and need it fast.

Also, his window in being a significant contributor in the team’s quest for the Stanley Cup may be starting to close, so it’s now or never.

Anothe Leafs player that needs to really up their game is their goalie. Whether that is Ilya Samsonov or Joseph Woll (all signs point to Woll, but it's not been confirmed) the Leafs need a goalie to step up for once.

After leading the Leafs to their first playoff round win in over two decades last year, Samsonov hasn’t been the same difference maker that the team expected him to be so far in the series.

With a 3.31 GAA and .883 save percentage in four games, that just doesn’t cut it against a formidable playoff opponent like the Bruins. With the Leafs struggling to put up offensive numbers of any kind, their goalie will need to be the team’s best player from here on out in order for Toronto to have any chance in coming back in the series. All stats fromNHL.com)

Finally, for the Maple Leafs to even have a chance to win one more game, let alone the entire series, Auston Matthews has to revert to his dominant goal-scoring ways seen during the regular season. \

The Bruins’ swarming defense have stifled Matthews, holding him to only one goal in four games so far, while practically erasing any impact he has had in the series.

The fact that Matthews was recently suffering with an illness makes matters even worse, meaning he isn’t at 100%. Nevertheless, ailing or not, he will need to be the one to lead the way and be the most valuable player on the ice for the Leafs if they really want to win the next three games and beyond.


Let’s cross our fingers and hope that at least one part in Leafs history will repeat itself, that is the series will go at least seven games this time too. Hopefully, if they somehow manage to do that, they will have all the momentum by that time to complete the comeback and finally dispatch their playoff nemesis once and for all.