Toronto Maple Leafs: Who Will be Their Playoff X-Factor?

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Ilya Samsonov

No matter how a team is playing, it's their goaltender who is always the last line of defense.

The Leafs will need Ilya Samsonov to be at his best during the playoffs. He helped them defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in round one last season but then fizzled in round two against the Panthers. If the Leafs play the Panthers in round one this season, it could be a good chance for Samsonov to seek redemption.

The Leafs could play the Panthers, Boston Bruins, or even the New York Rangers in round one.

The standings are too close right now to know who will be playing who just yet. All three teams will pose a challenge for the Leafs, but at the end of the day, Samsonov needs to shut the door and prevent the other team from scoring.

Samsonov is playing well right now, so hopefully, that will continue into the playoffs. He has a 21-6-7 record with a 3.06 GAA and a .892 SV% this season, but those stats are a bit deceiving due to Samsonov's poor start. He is having a much better second half of the season than the first half.


He has won his last three starts and will be looking to make it four (if he gets the start) on Saturday when the Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens.