4 objectives for Maple Leafs post-playoff clinch
The Maple Leafs have clinched a playoff berth for the seventh straight season but if Toronto is to make it past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2004, there is still business for head coach Sheldon Keefe to take care of before the end of the regular season.
- Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of In the Mentions. I'm TicTacTOmar. And the Toronto Maple Leafs are in a position we thought they'd be at the beginning of the season-- in the playoffs. They clinched, which doesn't have the same ah as it used to. I think part of it is because the Leafs have made the playoffs every single year of the Matthews Marner era, which is sick. I think another part of it is the fact that we already know who they're going to face. And there's also that dread of what's going to happen.
It's weird. It's almost as if you know what you're going to get for like a birthday present, but at the same time you're so worried that it's going to be something bad. But despite all of that, the fact that they're now clinched, there are a couple of things that I want to see. First and foremost, health, rest, people, which a lot of people will always say all the time. They go, they want to play, they want to play every day. But I think now that we're in a position where we have a playoff spot, I think it's OK to rest people. Mark [INAUDIBLE], I think he can take a night off. Maybe not a whole bunch, maybe one or two. John Tavares-- who knows? Maybe you can take a night off here or there.
Second thing, secure home ice advantage. I want games one and two to be in Toronto. If it gets there, I want game seven to be in Toronto. I don't want to have any sense where the Tampa Bay Lightning can maybe force a game seven and that game seven is in Tampa Bay with all their fans. So I want home ice advantage.
Third, pick your 12. Decide who your 12 forwards are. Decide who your six defensemen are. Sheldon Keefe has been making use of the 11 seven format. I'm kind of getting a little sick of it even though I understand why you're trying to figure out who to use in the best situations. But now that we're getting close to the end of the season, you need to figure out who your 18 are going to be.
Lastly, who's your starter? Now, you might be thinking Omar, what the heck are you talking about? It's going to be Ilya Samsonov. I think it's going to be Ilya Samsonov too. However, I do think that in the back of their mind, Keith and Dubas have hopes that Matt Murray will reactivate and do what he did with Pittsburgh, how at first Fleury was the go to starter, and then Fleury kind of stumbled, Matt Murray took over, and then he ran with it for the rest of the playoffs. Maybe that's something that they're hoping for. That'd be cool. That'd be sick. I mean, us Leafs fans all made a joke about it when the trade initially happened. We all posted the picture of Matt Murray with his two rings and said, hey, maybe he can do that for us.
Maybe he can do that for us. I'm not saying anything that I hope Ilya Samsonov has a bad time. I hope he has a great time. I hope he ends up being the person. But if they do need to go to Matt Murray, maybe that can be a moment for him to kind of turn back the clock and be that Stanley Cup winning goaltender that the Leafs are going to need. And when it comes to the playoffs this year, aside from the first round, even the second round if they get there, probably facing Boston-- who knows what happens in the third round if they get there as well?
Regardless of who the Leafs face, it's going to be difficult, which is going to make it a lot more stressful for you, for me, for the whole city. Hey, did anyone remind you that the 10 year anniversary? I've only been told a couple of times now. It's not going to make it any easier.