Looking at the best strategy for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs

Toronto Maple Leafs, Ilya Samsonov #35. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs, Ilya Samsonov #35. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs are almost here in less than two weeks. Teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs are gearing up for the ‘second’ season in the NHL, and now is a good time to speculate what the strategy might be for the Leafs.

How will Ryan O’Reilly’s injury impact the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Not putting too much pressure on Ryan O’Reilly will give the Leafs the added comfort of not creating a wave of turnovers during stressful situations. Asserting their physical game will help the Leafs overcome the Lightning in the postseason.

As stated in a previous article, the Toronto Maple Leafs cannot rely on Ryan O’Reilly to do the hard work when he returns from injury, given that he will need a few games to get back in shape. He even stated that he will not be a hundred percent. Keeping O’Reilly rested when he returns is important, especially if the pressure will be put on him during the playoffs by the opposing team.

The key weaknesses of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Turnovers, both along the boards and in the neutral zone, are hurting the Leafs. While you can overcome mistakes like turnovers during the regular season, it may be costly in the playoffs.

Pressure for the Leafs is another major weakness. Tampa Bay is experienced and in the last three years they have won 11 of 12 playoff series. Staying in control and not getting too overwhelmed will be a major factor in the series. The best thing for the Leafs is to start out strong winning the first game of the series.

What will the Toronto Maple Leafs need to win games?

The Leaf’s defense has been a bright spot this season. GM Kyle Dubas outdid himself by putting together a well-rounded defensive team with their additions at the deadline. The best way to combat their first-round opponent will be to put more pressure with a limit on key forwards.

Another aspect of sticking with the defensive zone coverage for the Leafs, and one way to shut down the opposing team’s offense, will be to watch their pass and play coverage, accompanied by speed and slick stick movement.

To match up with the Lighting in the playoffs, the Leafs will have to utilize their speed and creativity. The Maple Leafs have a ton of talented players and are a faster team on the ice. Additionally, they can harness their creativity in the offensive zone to break down the Lightning’s defensive pressure and get players open.

No doubt that Ilya Samsonov will get the start for the playoffs, as his brilliance in net has given the team hope and desire to win. Matt Murray is a capable backup that will give Samsonov the added cushion to play without pressure in stressful situations presented before him.

The Stanley Cup playoffs are going to be exciting, especially with a first-round re-match between the Maple Leafs and Lightning!