The X-Factor For the Toronto Maple Leafs in This Year's Playoffs

The Leafs are currently on their best stretch of the season, winning 7-straight games and defeating some of the league's strongest teams along the way, but there is one key X-factor that could make or break this team come playoff time.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Dallas Stars
Toronto Maple Leafs v Dallas Stars / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been an absolute wagon recenty.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have racked off 7-straight wins and are now within 8 points of the division lead, currently held by the Florida Panthers , with 2 games in hand.

However, the playoffs are a much different beast than the regular season.

The Leafs have been playing fantastic over the past few weeks, with the forward group finally playing up to their potential and the defense group showing much improvement.

But there is one aspect of the team that is still not solidified and could make or break the team in the postseason, and that is their goaltending.

The X-Factor For the Toronto Maple Leafs in This Year's Playoffs

As mentioned before, the Leafs forward and defense groups have both been great recently.

Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner are all on pace for career-best seasons, and John Tavares and Matthew Knies are finding their scoring touch after dry spells earlier in the year.

On top of this, newcomers Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, and Bobby McMann are playing their most consistent hockey of the year. The defense group has also been much-improved, led by the new pairing of T.J. Brodie and Timothy Liljegren (until his recent injury).

But the goaltending is still unresolved, and while it hasn't been terrible, it'll need to be better if the Leafs want the Stanley Cup.

Over the 7-game-winning streak, Leafs goalies Ilya Samsonov and Martin Jones have combined for a solid 2.42 GAA, and an "okay" .905 SV%.

Again, not terrible, but not great either.

The Leafs also scored at a wild pace, averaging 5 goals per game over their winning streak (and now lead the entire league in that stat).

All 3 of the Leafs goalies this year have had terrific stretches, but Joseph Woll has been by far the most consistent, and it's a safe bet he'll be the starter in the playoffs.

Woll came back from injury and made his debut last night against the Coyotes.

Whether it's Woll, Jones, or Samsonov who ends up starting in the playoffs, they will have to be at their best if the Leafs want to go on a deep run.

I have faith in Woll, but if he falters or gets injured again, the Leafs at the least have 2 serviceable goalies to back him up, though it's entirely possible they trade for a goalie between now and next week.

I think Woll will be fine when he returns, but you never really know what'll happen until you see it.


Let's hope one of these 3 goalies can play to their full potential in the playoffs.