The Toronto Maple Leafs Are About to Enter the Final Stretch

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have 18 games remaining in the 2023-24 regular season. They are holding onto the third spot in the Atlantic Division with 82 points, and are almost 100% assured of making the playoffs for an NHL leading eight straight season.

As I write this, the Tampa Bay Lightning have 74 points, so the Toronto Maple Leafs have some breathing room.

If the Leafs finish the season in the third divisional spot, they will play either the Boston Bruins or Florida Panthers.

One of those two teams will finish in second while the other will take first place and play a wild card team.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Are About to Enter the Final Stretch

The Leafs must finish strong and go into the playoffs with momentum. Many things need to go right, and at the moment, they are. The Leafs need their top-six to continue to produce, they need secondary scoring, which they're getting more of in the second half of the season, and they need goaltending to be at its best. Having all of these things clicking late into the season will help once the playoffs start.

The Leafs have one of the best top-six groups in the NHL, led by NHL goal leader Auston Matthews. When five out of six players in your top six make $5 million or higher, they better produce.

A team needs its top players to be productive in the playoffs. After 64 games played, the Leafs top point producers are William Nylander (84 points), Matthews (80), Mitch Marner (76), John Tavares (46), and Morgan Rielly (46). (All Stats from

After those five, you have the Leafs group of secondary scorers who have been better in the second half of the season and will need to continue staying productive. Max Domi has 34 points, Tyler Bertuzzi (29), Matthew Knies (26), Jake McCabe (23), and Calle Jarnkrok (21) round out the top ten. Domi and Bertuzzi had decent point totals in last year's playoffs, so I'm not worried about them. The Leafs need Knies, Jarnkrok, Nick Robertson, Bobby McMann, and others to step up their game.

One of the reasons why Leafs GM Brad Treliving brought in Defensemen Ilya Lyubushkin and Joel Edmundson is their size and physical presence to punish opponents along the boards or in front of the net. Their job, along with the rest of the Leafs defense, will be to box out their opponents and allow the goaltender to see the puck. Don't be surprised if defensemen like Lyubushkin, McCabe, Edmundson, and even Simon Benoit get a lot of ice time in the playoffs.

As for goaltending, Ilya Samsonov is finding much more success in the second half of the season compared to the first half. If he continues to play this way, he will get the start in net for game one of the Leafs first-round series. That said, the Leafs did play Joseph Woll twice last week against the Bruins, perhaps tipping their hand as to what they plan on doing.

Before being placed on waivers and getting sent down to the Toronto Marlies, Samsonov had a 5-2-6 record with a 3.94 GAA and a .862 SV%. Since his return to the Leafs, he has a 12-3-0 record with a 2.37 GAA and .911 SV%. He will need to be at his best if the Leafs are to be successful.


The Leafs next game will be on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers. Let's hope they can keep the momentum from Saturday's win going and that four days off won't have them playing rusty.