The Toronto Maple Leafs Continue To Win, Yet I’m Still Not Sold

Florida Panthers v Toronto Maple Leafs
Florida Panthers v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs may have emerged victorious on Monday night, but the Florida Panthers demonstrated that they were the superior team on the ice.

It’s a common adage in sports that it's not just how you start, but how you finish, and the determination displayed by the Florida Panthers against the Toronto Maple Leafs exemplified this sentiment.

For the second time in recent weeks, the Leafs found themselves holding a significant lead against a formidable opponent after two periods, only to barely secure a win. Two weeks earlier, it was against the Edmonton Oilers, and this time, they faced a similar challenge against the Panthers.

Considering the caliber of teams like Florida and Edmonton, both of which could be strong contenders for the Stanley Cup Finals, the Leafs victories, while commendable, may not be cause for unbridled celebration.

As a lifelong Leafs fan, it pains me to adopt a pessimistic outlook, especially when I've often been the voice of optimism among my peers. Despite my enduring hope that "this could be the year," repeated disappointments have dimmed my optimism. It's becoming increasingly difficult to envision a future where this team achieves sustained success.

Leafs Continue To Win, Yet Future Remains Cloudy

Optimistic fans might argue otherwise, pointing to the team's impressive performance since January, during which they've defeated formidable opponents such as Florida, Edmonton, Vegas, and New York. However, upon closer inspection, it's evident that these victories may not necessarily translate into playoff success.

Sloppy defensive play and a penchant for squandering leads are glaring issues that cannot be overlooked.

Simply outscoring opponents, as the Leafs seem to be doing at times, is not a sustainable strategy in the playoffs. The Leafs put together a run of 27 games between mid-January and Mid-March where they were the top scoring team in hockey and the 2nd best team overall - and during this run they had the 15th best goaltending. That means that even at their best, they win with their scoring - something they haven't been able to translate into the playoffs over the past seven years.

Much has been made of goaltender Ilya Samsonov's winning record, but his recent performances raise concerns. While he has managed to keep the opposing teams at bay in some games, allowing two or fewer goals in five of his last 14 outings, his overall play has been inconsistent.

Against Florida, Samsonov initially appeared solid, delivering a flawless performance in the first period. However, as the game progressed, he conceded four goals on 30 shots, underscoring the team's defensive vulnerabilities.


The Leafs inability to shore up their defensive deficiencies is squandering the talents of one of the most potent offensive lineups in team history. Unfortunately, if these issues persist, the team's current hot streak is likely to come crashing down once the playoffs commence in two weeks.