As much as James van Riemsdyk doesn’t want to start talking playoffs, the Maple Leafs forward knows there is no way around it.

Not when thousands in Leafs Nation are back home giddy with the excitement that comes with the knowledge that the first Stanley Cup playoff game for their favourite franchise in nine years is just days away.

So it was with that van Riemsdyk, fresh from a dryland training exercise with his Leafs teammates in parking lot adjacent to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, got caught up in a post-season discussion with reporters on Monday morning.

Few Leafs have Stanley Cup playoff experience, and van Riemsdyk is the only one who has participated in the Cup final, something that happened in 2010 when his Philadelphia Flyers lost in six games against the Chicago Blackhawks.

“It’s when you find out a lot about players — when the chips are down and in those big games like that,” van Riemsdyk said of the playoffs in general terms.

“Some people look at it as pressure, but I look at it more as a fun opportunity. We have a lot of guys who step up in the big moments and when the team needs a spark, guys can do things. We have a good mix of guys in the room and we will see what we can do.”

The Leafs, idle until they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night, stayed off the ice for a second day in a row on Monday. After clinching a playoff spot on Saturday night in Ottawa with a 4-1 victory against the Senators, the Leafs didn’t land in Florida until 3:30 in the morning on Sunday. A complete day off meant that most hit the golf course for the first time in 2013, while others took advantage of the cloudy but warm weather to do a lot of nothing.