NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

Photo via Sean McIndoe

The Toronto Maple Leafs have fought their way to place in the top teams going into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. While they lost their head coach early in the season, it did not stop their fight or the intensity of their playing. Their strong attack line have led the Maple Leafs to where they are going into the playoffs. With young and old players, the dynamic of Toronto is one to be reckoned with. 

Looking at the Maple Leafs start this season they came out full force with returning players creating strong lines. However, it did take a halt when head coach Mike Babcock was fired from the team, leaving new coaching staff to take his place. Not only was it halted from the coaching end but also with injuries and personal struggles for players such as John Tavares and Mitch Marner. With injuries like this, it brought down the offense however with Auston Matthews and William Nylander covering for those injuries it led to success.  Moving into the rest of the regular season, the team managed to play dynamic hockey and continuously find the net each game. 

A major strength for this team is their top goal scorer Auston Matthews who maximizes on plays and manages to utilize the entirety of the ice. With 47 goals this season and a plus-minus of 19, he continues to prove himself game to game. With an intense player like this bringing leadership to the team it influences other players especially younger to fight for their own name to be made. 

While offensively the Maple Leafs are strong, the team’s goaltending has cost them crucial points. Goaltenders Jack Campbell and Frederik Andersen have goals against average (GAA) of 2.8 one of the lowest in the league. With the goaltenders battling to block the net, opponents can find the net and maximize on scoring opportunities. 

The Maple Leafs will face the Columbus Blue Jackets for their first match up on August 2. The last time these teams faced each other, the Blue Jackets won in overtime at Toronto. Going into the game, neither team will have fans to cheer them on. The players will need to communicate on the ice with each other to rally when finding the net. 

Going into the playoffs, this team will need to focus on guarding the net and becoming a strong defense to block out opponents. While the offense is strong, it cannot carry the team through playoffs by itself. Toronto will need to maximize on scoring as well as utilize power plays and use the ice advantage to win the games. 

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