Many Reasons to Love This Edition of the Toronto Maple Leafs Despite Their Flaws

Despite their inconsistencies and, at times, infuriating play, the Leafs have had many feel-good stories throughout the year that make them a likable team to cheer for. Examples of resilience and grit can be found everywhere, which hasn't always been the case with this team.

St. Louis Blues v Toronto Maple Leafs
St. Louis Blues v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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As another NHL season winds down, the Toronto Maple Leafs once again find themselves in a solid position.

A playoff spot has yet to be officially clinched, but the Toronto Maple Leafs will likely extend their run of consecutive postseason appearances to eight.

It is something that fans of the team should not take for granted. The long championship drought remains, but this is a golden era for a flagship franchise of the NHL.

Star players litter the roster and the legitimate contender label remains, despite the absence of a prolonged postseason run.

The Leafs are destined to crack the century mark in points for a fifth time with this current core of players. It might have been seven consecutive 100-point seasons if not for two shortened schedules due to the pandemic.

This year's edition of the Leafs has gone from a preseason Stanley Cup favorite to a periphery contender with a tough postseason slate ahead. The season narratives, however, have been anything but dull and make them a team to appreciate.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Have Resilience and Grit

Resilience and grit. Words that have not often been associated with the Toronto Maple Leafs, until now. One doesn't have to look far to see examples of it with this year's group of players.

The latest instance came from defenseman Mark Giordano. He scored the opening goal in a bounce-back victory for the Leafs in a 5-1 win over the Washington Capitals.

Giordano was only in the lineup because of an injury to Timothy Liljegren. Having recently gone through a concussion injury scare, plus the passing of his father Paul, it was poetic that he scored in his first game in weeks.

Also scoring against the Capitals was Tyler Bertuzzi. He scored twice to give him twelve goals in his last nineteen games. After scoring only six times over his first 51 games, it would have been easy for the snakebitten Bertuzzi to chalk it up to one of those years.

Instead, he continued to go hard to the dirty areas in front of the net. He persisted through tough times and is being rewarded with better results.

Bertuzzi's resurgence is optimal timing for the Leafs, with the playoffs just around the corner.