4 Keys to Success in the Playoffs for the Toronto Maple Leafs

What things do the Leafs need to do right in the Stanley Cup playoffs to be successful?
Mar 4, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe leads the way
Mar 4, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe leads the way / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Goaltending Will Need to Steal Some Games

With the game becoming more rough and the checking a lot tighter during the playoffs, goals essentially can be hard to come by as a consequence.

Therefore, very often the difference in a game could be determined by the strict play of the goalies manning the crease.

Back in the days, the Leafs had the likes of Felix Potvin, Curtis Joseph and Ed Belfour who had the capability of single-handedly winning games all by themselves. As a result, they had some great success in leading the Leafs through multiple rounds in the playoffs.

This year, both Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll have shown some flashes of potentially having such an ability, but in most part haven’t had the absolute  standout game that we all remember where they stole one for the team.

Come playoff time, the Leafs will likely need them to be the best player on the ice and help the team steal a game or two when needed as they can’t solely rely on their offense to outscore the opposition each time. So if either one of Samsonov and Woll manages to elevate their game to another level, the Leafs will have a good shot in making a long Stanley Cup run this year.

Sheldon Keefe Needs to Make the Right Moves

For the past few seasons, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was often “out-coached” by the opposing team, as he appeared to have some trouble making the right adjustments at the right time to help the team build a winning formula.

Whether it was the formation and makeup of his lines, how he ended up deploying the line combinations, who he gave more or less playing time to, as well as his designed style of play both in the offensive and defensive zone, the opposing coach always seemed to be just one step ahead.

To be a successful playoff team, making the right decisions and having the right matchups is critical, as even one little misstep can ultimately change the tone of a game and perhaps even a series.

As a result, the pressure will be on Keefe this time around to find a way to maintain the advantage in the Leafs’ favour. It is about time that he shows everyone why he can get the job done with the Leafs now, just like how he did in leading the Toronto Marlies to their Calder Cup championship back in the 2017-18 season.