The Changes the Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Make in Order to Win Game 2

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens
Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs need to make some changes if they want to win game two.

The first game of the Toronto Maple Leafs / Boston Bruins series was a clear-cut win for the Bruins, but it was also a winnable game from the Leafs perspective.

If the Leafs had of gotten better goaltending and special teams, they might have won the game. That might sound like faint praise, but this Leafs team has proven that they will win most nights where they get even league-aveage goaltending.

This will probably also be the only game of the series where the Core Four fails to score, so I'm feeling pretty optimistic about their chances.

Here's what they have to do to win:

The Changes the Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Make in Order to Win Game 2

William Nylander

Inserting a healthy Nylander into the lineup will make a world of difference. The Leafs third line was complete garbage without him. Nylander makes it so Pontus Holmberg is an effective player, and using him way down on the third line gives the Leafs a major advantage.

By having Matthews, Tavares and Nylander on separate lines there is really no way to defend against this team. Not to mention that Nylander is, as was mentioned on Saturday's broadcast, a "one man breakout machine."

The Blue-Line

Both Ilya Lyability and Joel Edmundson need to be scratched. At least, If it's not possible to go back in time and undo the terrible trades that brought them to the team in the first place.

TJ Brodie is clearly better than either of those guys and he'll be back in for game 2. Less sure to happen, but far more important, would be to dress Conor Timmins who is basically the Leafs Davis Schnieder.

The Goalie

Joseph Woll has to play or else someone needs to give the coach a breathalyzer. Not sure why the Leafs started Samsonov in the first place, but there is no reason to ever play him again.

If Joseph Woll falters, Matt Murray and Martin Jones should both see the net before Samsonov does. It remains completely insane that the Leafs did not upgrade their goaltending before the playoffs.

The Lines

A more prominent role for Nick Robertson and a less prominent one for Max Domi would do wonders for this team. Also, putting Mitch Marner back with Auston Matthews is a must. I'd go back to Knies-Matthews-Marner beacuse this way you get the best out of everyone. Matthews Knies has not been effective at all outside of playing on the first line, so if this line isn't put back together I'd consider scratching him.

If the Leafs don't want to use Kniews on the LW of the first line, Robertson-Matthews-Marner should be the line they use. Just let Marner feed beautiful passes to Robertson while everyone is looking at Matthews. The two-goal-scorers on the same line is a rarely used but super-effective hockey strategy.

Some other thoughts I have for game 2: scratch Ryan Reeves, put Liljegren with Rielly, and never, ever put Calle Jarkrok on the first power-play unit again.


If the Leafs take my advice, they will win for sure.