Toronto Maple Leafs Tidbits and Reflections as the Playoffs Draw Near

From Auston Matthews' pursuit of the 70-goal mark, the return of Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly, and games against two playoff-bound Atlantic Division rivals, there is no shortage of storylines to follow as the Leafs season winds down.

Mar 30, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) reacts after scoring his 60th goal of the season against the Sabres. Matthews' chase for 70 goals will be a story to watch as the NHL regular season winds down.
Mar 30, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) reacts after scoring his 60th goal of the season against the Sabres. Matthews' chase for 70 goals will be a story to watch as the NHL regular season winds down. / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
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What to Watch For Down the Stretch

Lyubushkin, Edmundson, Benoit, Timmons, and perhaps Liljegren, will be in a fight for their place in the lineup. Their play on special teams and the matchup against the Leafs first-round opponent will play large parts in sorting this out.

Particular attention should be paid to the games against the Panthers and the Lightning. These games should carry more weight for Keefe and his coaching staff in helping to determine the lineup.

Samsonov was named the starting goaltender for Monday's game against the Panthers, indicating he is the favorite to get the call for the first game of the playoffs. Yet, with both he and Joseph Woll likely to get 4 to 5 more games each to close the regular season, it's not set in stone.

During the final games of the regular season, it is also paramount that the Leafs get their special teams play in order.

The power play, a key element to their attack, has sputtered for a prolonged stretch. Killing penalties has been a year-long problem. Both are major factors in any playoff series.

The Leafs need to get and keep their key players healthy and decide on their most effective special-teams personnel.

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There are lots of storylines to follow as the Toronto Maple Leafs schedule comes to a close. Much preparation remains to get ready for when the most important games begin.