5 Things That Went Wrong for the Toronto Maple Leafs During the Playoffs

So what led to the Maple Leafs demise against the Boston Bruins once again?
May 4, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Matthew Knies (23)
May 4, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Matthew Knies (23) / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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Underwhelming Penalty Kill

Similar to their power play, the Leafs penalty kill once again was underwhelming to say the least against Boston.

The Bruins went 6-for-17 with the man advantage, thus outscoring the Leafs 6-1 in that category, as Toronto seemed to have no answer for David Pastrnak and company.

The Leafs 64.7% penalty kill success rate ranked them ahead of only the King, Winnipeg Jets, Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes among playoff teams. (All stats from NHL.com)

Considering also the fact that the Leafs have some of the best penalty killers in Jake McCabe, Joel Edmundson, Ilya Lyubuskin and Simon Benoit that could make key blocked shots and move bodies out on the back end, it is quite surprising that they didn’t have more success than the results showed. Nevertheless, losing the overall special teams battle once again is a recipe for disaster for any team, not only for just the Leafs.

Failure to Capitalize on Chances

As mentioned before, with both sides playing almost equally as well, at least during 5-on-5 situations, one of the key things is to be able to capitalize on chances whenever the opportunity presents itself.

With goals being hard to come by for both clubs, as just 30 goals were scored in total during the seven-game series, the Leafs needed to convert on more of their opportunities, but failed to do so. On the other hand, the Bruins masterfully did so time and time again.

A prime example of this was in Game 7 when Connor Dewar went in on a breakaway against Jeremy Swayman during the second period but failed to score. It would have given the Leafs huge momentum going into the third period with the lead but to no avail.

Then during the third period, Edmundson couldn’t convert on a beautiful three-way passing play that would have put the Leafs up 2-0 and take full control of the game.

Finally, Boston would get their lone great scoring chance during overtime on a fortunate bounce off the corner and Pastrnak would promptly bury the dagger into the Leafs net. In a game of inches, that is the difference between winning and losing.