Toronto Maple Leafs Play a Great Game Under Extreme Pressure

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Two
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Two / Rich Gagnon/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs were under extreme pressure Monday night in Boston.

Lose, and they go down 2-0 to one of the best teams in the NHL. Lose, and their already ridiculous path through the playoffs becomes nearly impossible. Lose, and all the frustrations of the last five or so years bubble to the surface before they even play a game in Toronto.

Not only was the pressure extreme, but the Leafs were without William Nylander and Bobby McMann once again. The Leafs have no hope of competing with the Bruins' blue-line or their goalies, and are relying on their impressive stable of scoring forwards to even the scales.

Unfortunately, without Nylander the Leafs lack the star power to really take advantage. Without McMann they lack the scoring depth that they are known for.

With no one sure how Samsonov would respond, and many people doubting the coach for running back the same lineup as game one, game 2 was a nerve wracking experience, but the Leafs actually played a really solid road game and deserved the vicotry that Auston Matthews willed them to.

Toronto Maple Leafs Play a Great Game Under Extreme Pressure

Some thoughts on the game:

Winning without Nylander is huge. The Leafs weren't dominated in the game they lost, and they might have been the better team overalll Saturday night. They were for sure the better team in the game they won, and now they know they can match Boston even without Nylander.

Getting him back will give the Leafs a huge emotional burst and an extremely big advantage in the game as well.

Ilya Samsonov doesn't really inspire a ton of confidence, but he could have crumbled when the Bruins had two goals on ten shots, but instead he didn't let in another goal for the rest of the game.

The Timothy Liljegren and Joel Edmundson line is terrible. They are slow, they can't move the puck and they seem to always make bad decisions. The Leafs are kind of locked into playing Liljegren since most of their D can't move the puck, but neither of these guys has looked good so far this series.

Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi were pretty bad on Saturday but completely awesome on Monday. If they play like this consistantly the Leafs will be impossible to beat when Marner and Nylander are also going.

While Marner had a strong, underrated performance on Saturday, his line was garbage last night and really failed to do anything.

In each game Nick Robertson has had a grade A scoring chance and eventually he'll bury one. He hasn't gotten much ice time but I thought he was good in both games.

Morgan Rielly had a really strong game on Tuesday. He's not going to often match McAvoy, but I thought he held his own very nicely as the Leafs top defenseman on Tuesday.

Ryan Reave, Connor Dewar and David Kampf had a great game. If these guys can bring it like this while the Leafs put a star on every line the team is going to be hard to beat even with their subpar blue-line and goaltending.


If Nylander returns and both Marner and Matthews show up in the same game, the Leafs are going to be booking some tickets to Florida in no time.