It's Game Day - The Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Call the Regression Police

Apr 24, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) checks Toronto
Apr 24, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) checks Toronto / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs are 2-12 in elimination games during the Auston Matthews Era.

That is an extremely unfortunate record, but also a really unlucky one. No decent team's record could be that bad, so maybe it's a good sign for tonight's game.

Or maybe not. Who knows?

Will Auston Matthews even play? Will the real William Nylander show up? Will the Leafs start Joseph Woll (it sure looks like it)?

There are the questions we're asking as we count down the hours until game time.

It's Game Day - The End of an Era, or the Beginning of a Glorious Run?

I expect the Leafs to come back and win this series.

Maybe I'm an idiot, but I just don't believe this team - by which I mean the core - will go out like this.

If the Leafs lose tonight, John Tavares run as captain and superstar free-agent signing is the biggest bust in sports history.

To squander the talents of Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner for eight straight years just doesn't seem possible. This team began with so much promise and we have invested so much into it - our time, emotions, etc - that I have to believe it has more to give.

Maybe it doesn't. Maybe they are just as flawed as everyone says.

But I don't believe you could rise to the levels that these guys haver risen too and then find the playoffs too much to handle. I don't buy it for a second.

The Leafs are due for some good luck, and while I may be completely deluded, I think they're going to get it. Matthews finished the season with 1 goal on his last 27 shots. He has 1 goal on 17 shots in this series. Last year against Florida he went didn't score on 26 shots.

All together, in his last 12 games of regular season and playoffs combined, he has 2 goals on 68 shots. That is under 3% shooting for a guy who routinely scores on 15% of his shots.

He's due.

The Leafs haven't played that badly this series. They are the better team at 5v5, but their power-play and penalty killing have been BRUTAL. Boston has scored on something like 50% of their power-plays and the Leafs are 1-14 on the PP.

The Leafs - one of the NHL's best teams - are 1-8 in their last nine.

Again, like Matthews shooting problems, and their record in elimination games, the Leafs special teams problems and their recent record are so bad that eventually the regression to the norm is going to be extremely fun to watch. (stats

But will that happen tonight? Objectively, I wouldn't bet on it. Emotionally? I guarantee it! The thing is, if the Leafs can grind out a win tonight, that's one more game for the crazy stats to start correcting themselves. All they have to do is stay alive long enough to let the math do the work for them.


I predicted that the Toronto Maple Leafs would win the Stanley Cup this spring, and even though things look bleak right now, I still believe it's going to happen.