4 Things the Toronto Maple Leafs Must Do to Overcome the Bruins

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Two
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Two / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages
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The frustration is growing among the fan base of the Toronto Maple Leafs after their team has fallen into a 2-1 deficit at the hands of their arch-rivals, the Boston Bruins.  If solutions aren’t found quickly, this first round Stanley Cup Playoff showdown is in danger of slipping beyond reach, harkening yet another summer of despair.

Despite so many factors working against them, the Toronto Maple Leafs could very well be leading this series, and on the brink of taking a commanding series lead with a Game 4 victory.   Why do they instead find themselves in this desperate situation once again?

The most glaring issue through 3 games has been special teams and, which for Toronto, have been very un-special.  A powerplay with a 9.1% success rate (stats from quanthockey.com) and a horrible penalty kill chugging along at 50% will get you onto the golf course pronto.

Next up, we have a lack of scoring from the #2 ranked NHL offense during the regular season.  Scoring six goals in three games is simply not good enough.  This is a problem we keep seeing every year in the playoffs, and it puts undue pressure on the defense and goaltending to try to be perfect.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Can Overcome Their Problems

The absence of William Nylander is certainly a factor.  No team can lose their second leading scorer, especially one with 40 goals and 98 points, without negative consequences.  With Mitch Marner struggling, Boston can focus their defensive efforts squarely on stopping Auston Matthews.

Finally, no discussion of Toronto Maple Leaf playoff struggles is complete without mentioning the refereeing.  Although the bad calls tend to even out over the course of a series, there’s no question that there should have been whistles just prior to two of Boston’s goals in their 4-2 Game 3 victory.  If even one of those plays is blown dead, it’s possible the final outcome is different.

In any event, the past is history.  The questions is, what do the Leafs need to do to turn this series around and advance to the next round of the playoffs?

Here are 4 things that would go a long way towards making that happen.