With the Toronto Maple Leafs star players coming out in a big way, they now have a chance to put the Tampa Bay Lightning away in Game 6.
It is time to see if the Toronto Maple Leafs have truly learned their lesson as they could not have asked for a better opportunity to show why they are a different team this season.
With the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions on the ropes, Toronto could silence a lot of doubters with a win in Game 6. It won’t be easy but if the Leafs want to achieve their ultimate goal of winning a Cup, they have to beat the best of the best.
So can they get the job done? Here is a look at three reasons why the Leafs can finally prove that they have the killer instinct needed to put the Lightning away.
1. Auston Matthews got his swagger back in Game 5
The Leafs needed the star players to shine if they were going to have any chance of winning in this series. Game 5 should be proof of what this team can do when the core players step up to the plate.
Not only did Auston Matthews get the all-important game-winning goal but he was also a physical force registering seven hits. This was further proof of what type of effort is needed to be successful in the playoffs.
Considering he didn’t have his best effort in the two games on the road, Game 5 was crucial for Matthews because he needed something to build off of. There is no doubting how important his performance is going to be with the team in must-win territory and he has to be ready to take on whatever the Lightning are going to throw his way.
2. Jack Campbell has been up to the task against Andrei Vasilevskiy
The Leafs came into this series fairly equal with the Lightning but many believed Andrei Vasilevskiy provided Tampa with a big advantage in net. However, Jack Campbell has done his best to nullify that advantage with a strong performance of his own.
Here are the issues when you just look at Campbell’s stats in this series, one game severely impacts it. If you take away Campbell’s Game 4 stats considering he was pulled midway through the game, he has a .927 save percentage.
Campbell definitely hasn’t been perfect but he has definitely been a game-changer in this series. Look no further than his performance in Game 3 where he made 32 saves in 34 shots. He was arguably even better in Game 5 after allowing the first two goals of the game and the Lightning were trying to battle back.
Let’s just say he pitches his shutout of the series, it wouldn’t be a bad (wink).
3. William Nylander and John Tavares get the monkey off their backs
Just as important as Matthews and Campbel were in Game 5, none of that would have meant anything without John Tavares and William Nylander getting the Leafs back into the game.
They were instrumental in the comeback and showed what was missing from their line for most of the series. We saw glimpses of what this duo could do but it didn’t come when the team needed it.
Considering how ineffective Nylander and Tavares were up until Game 5, it’s quite impressive that Toronto has remained in the position they are in. Tampa Bay can show that they aren’t worried at all about Toronto but if all their star players come to play, they will have something to be worried about.
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What are the Leafs’ chances to get the job done in Game 6? Let us know in the comments below.