Any Chance of a Toronto Maple Leafs Series Comeback Lies With 1 Person

Who could be the true difference maker for the Maple Leafs to turn the series around?
Jan 9, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe
Jan 9, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

So the Toronto Maple Leafs have now fallen behind 3-1 in their first round playoff series against the Boston Bruins.

Pucks haven’t been going the Toronto Maple Leafs way, bounces haven’t been going their way either. Heck, practically almost everything haven’t been going their way.

You can look at the Leafs players’ eyes and see that they all appear down and out.

So does this mean the Maple Leafs are finished? Or do they still have something left in the tank to give themselves at least a shot?

The Secret To Any Chance of a Toronto Maple Leafs Series Comeback Against the Bruins Lies With One Person

Well, in order for the Leafs to have any chance of a potential series comeback, the secret lies in the hands, or literally the brain, of one person. That person is Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe.

It is about time that Keefe started making the right moves to give the team a chance to win. In that case, with the Leafs struggling to put pucks in the net with only seven goals in four games, they must dress the lineup with the most offensive potential going forward and play to their strengths.

That means Noah Gregor, Conor Timmins and Timothy Liljegren need to draw in, and Ryan Reaves, T.J. Brodie and one of Ilya Lyubuskin or Simon Benoit need to come out. If Bobby McMann is healthy enough, he definitely needs to be in the lineup.

On top of that, Keefe needs to start changing what’s not working. He finally gave Joseph Woll some game action in Game 4 in relief of Ilya Samsonov and he responded by holding the fort to give the Leafs the chance to come back in the game. That’s a good start, as they don’t need any more deflating goals that Samsonov tended to let in so far in the playoffs.

The next thing he needs to alter is some of the line combinations. The Auston Matthews line that had been flying during the regular season isn’t doing enough damage during the playoffs.

The same goes to the stale John Tavares-Mitch Marner line, so both lines need some big time adjustments. Maybe try putting Marner back with Matthews, or perhaps even form a super line with William Nylander with the dynamic duo. Anything to give the Bruins a new look to throw their game plan off is the strategy the Leafs should go with.

And for that super power play of theirs? That has once again been a total disaster, so it may be time to go with the freestyle approach and have no stagnant set plays.

Try having two players man the point on both sides, or set up screens and shoot from the point more often, or just get everyone skating around to confuse the Bruins where everyone may be and shoot unexpectedly.

The element of surprise is actually a truly underrated aspect of the game that could really give a team a big-time advantage. It’s just something Keefe and the Maple Leafs haven’t realized yet. If you need a good example, just watch how Brad Marchand has been doing it for the Bruins.


So the time for Keefe to act urgently is now, as every game from here on out could be the last game of the season for the Maple Leafs. But if he keeps sticking to what he has always been doing where it has been quite evident for some time now that it is no longer effective, we can get ready to kiss the season goodbye.