Leafs RD2GM4: Do or Die

Leafs O'Reilly #90 and Matthews #34 in practice
Leafs O'Reilly #90 and Matthews #34 in practice Photo: Maple Leafs Twitter

After three games that haven’t gone to plan for the Leafs, they now find themselves on the brink of elimination. If there were ever a “Do or Die” game, it would be tonight, as a loss means an exit from the 2023 NHL Playoffs. The Leafs have been the team driving more of the offense throughout this series, but they’ve had trouble converting on their chances, while the Panthers have been able to capitalize on Leafs’ mistakes and, ultimately, their own chances as well. The Leafs will look for a strong effort tonight throughout the lineup and hope to solve Bobrovsky, who suddenly looks like a good goalie again.

Leafs Projected Lineup

Panthers Projected Lineup


Verhaeghe – Barkov – Duclair

Cousins – Bennett – Tkachuk

Luostarinen – Lundell – Reinhart

White – Staal – Dalpe


Forsling – Ekblad

Staal – Montour

Mahura – Gudas




Three Things to Look Out For


Woll found himself playing in relief of Samsonov in game 3, but not due to Samsonov letting in goals and being pulled. After a collision between Schenn and Samsonov, he was injured and unfit to continue the rest of the game. Woll stepped in and played a decent game, but the team wasn’t able to provide offense to help him out all that much. His read on the Overtime goal was a bit slow, but ultimately, it was a decent outing for Woll. If the Leafs want to win tonight, they will likely need Woll to play a solid game tonight as he gets the start between the pipes. Now that Woll has had time to prepare for the start look for him to be a calming presence tonight and hopefully help lead the Leafs to see another day.


Matthews and Marner have been receiving a lot of criticism since round 2 started, and that’s largely because they’ve struggled to convert their chances. It seems like something is off with them, and they can’t buy a goal, but that needs to change if the Leafs want a chance in this series. Ultimately Marner and Matthews both played a big part in getting us through the regular season and into Round 2 and deserve credit for that. Still, ultimately if they’re not producing, the 2nd round will be as far as the Leafs can go. Let’s hope that by putting Jarnkrok with the two, they’ll be able to replicate some of the success they’ve had earlier in the season.


O’Reilly was brought to Toronto to help push the Leafs past the hump, and he certainly did that, playing a large part in getting them to the second round, but like Matthews and Marner, he has seen fewer results lately himself. O’Reilly, nicknamed “The Factor,” hasn’t been near as much of a factor as he needs to be for this team in the second round, and actually made a crucial mistake last game late that Woll had to bail him out on. Look for O’Reilly to bounce back tonight and have a better game as he looks to once again be “The Factor.”

Tonight’s game starts at 7:00 PM EST on Sportsnet!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me on Twitter @nathan_bondy.

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