Maple Leafs set impressive franchise record with Tuesday's win in NJ

Mike Armenti
April 10, 2024  (12:08)

The Maple Leafs celebrate one of their 24 road wins this season
Photo credit: Maple Leafs on X/Twitter

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been playing on another level over their last 28 games, leading the league in wins, points and goals over that span. They also set a new franchise record last night in New Jersey.

A 5-2 win last night against the Devils gave the Leafs 24 road wins on the season, which doesn't seem like a lot until you realize that no other collection of players and coaches in Leafs franchise history was able to accomplish this. Also, with two games remaining on the road this season, the Leafs have a chance to extend the franchise record to 26 road wins.

There are a number of players who have been vital to the team's success, but perhaps 3 who stand out more than the others

There are a lot of reasons for the Leafs' tremendous success this season, but perhaps none more vital than the play of Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Ilya Samsonov.
After scoring his 66th goal of the season last night, Matthews is now closer to the 70-goal mark than anyone has been in the last 28 years, dating back to Mario Lemieux's 1995-96 season, when he scored 69 goals and 92 assists for a total of 161 points. Lemieux is widely regarded as one of the top-3 consensus best players of all-time, so it says a lot about Matthews that he was able to get this close, even if he doesn't hit the 70-goal mark.
As for Nylander, he came into this season with a lot to prove in a contract year and this season could have gone a number of ways for him. Thankfully for Nylander, betting on himself was the right call and in the midst of his career-best 96-point season, Nylander was able to come to terms with the Maple Leafs on an 8-year mega extension worth a staggering $11.5M per season. Not only has Nylander not slowed down since signing his contract like many suggested he might, he's been just as dominant as he was before he put pen to paper and is now in a solid position to post the first 100-point season of his career.

Is Ilya Samsonov the Leafs' MVP over the last 28 games?

Samsonov may be the biggest reason for the Maple Leafs' sustained success over the last 28 games and arguably the most unexpected superstar on the team after landing on waivers at the beginning of January. Samsonov's 18-3-1 record since January 21st has him among the best goalies in the league in terms of wins percentage over that span, and if played like this from the start of the year instead of starting as slow and as inconsistently as he did, we might be talking about him as a potential Vezina Trophy Finalist. He's been that impressive. Credit to what Matthews has done, but you don't win as many games as the Leafs have without solid goaltending.
The Leafs' final two road games will come at the end of this season, as they take on both Florida teams on the road, first against the Panthers on April 16th, before closing out their season against the Lightning on April 17th. The Leafs currently hold a 6-point lead over the Lightning and sit just 3 points back of Florida for 2nd in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand.
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Maple Leafs set impressive franchise record with Tuesday's win in NJ

Will the Maple Leafs pass the Florida Panthers and begin the playoffs with home ice advantage?

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