How the Toronto Maple Leafs Matchup against 3 Potential Playoff Opponents

How do the Maple Leafs matchup against their three most likely playoff opponents: Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers - Game Four
Toronto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers - Game Four / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages
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New York Rangers

Despite what the standings may say, I think this is the most favourable matchup for the Leafs.

The New York Rangers are built very similarly to the Maple Leafs. High end scoring talent at the top of their lineup, a unconventional bottom 6 and a back end that features only one great puck moving defender.

Matthews, Marner, Nylander and Tavares have outscored Panarin, Kreider, Zibanejad and Trocheck this season. The Leafs "core 4" have scored 147 goals, 179 assists for 326 points compared to the Rangers 126 goal, 179 assists and 305 points.

The next highest scorer on both teams are defensemen: Morgan Rielly and Adam Fox. Fox is far and away better than Rielly both offensively and defensively. If Fox did not miss 10 games at the beginning of the season, he most likely would be in contention for the Norris trophy.

The rest of the Leafs forwards edge out the Rangers in terms of scoring. The Leafs have six 10+ goal scorers outside of the "core 4" compared to the Rangers 5. The mid-season emergence of Bobby McMann and Tyler Bertuzzi heating up have been a real help to their offence.

While the Rangers have struggled to find where Kaapo Kakko and Jack Roslovic fit in the lineup. (All stats can be found at MoneyPuck.com,NHL.comandstatmuse.com).

Similar to Florida and Boston, New York has the advantage with Igor Shesterkin in the crease. Shesterkin has had a down year compared to previous seasons, where he won the Vezina trophy. But recently, he has found his Vezina form, which could be a concern for any team in the playoffs.

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Out of all the potential playoff matchups, the Toronto Maple Leafs matchup against the New York Rangers the best. Though it is the least likely of the three, it would be the best-case scenario in order to avoid the Bruins and Panthers in the first two rounds of the playoffs.