Nine years.

How long ago was that?

Consider that in 2004, Twitter was still two years away from being introduced and the Boston Red Sox were still six months away from ending their 86-year championship drought.

As for the Maple Leafs, it's been nine long years since Jeremy Roenick's goal at 7:39 of overtime gave the Philadelphia Flyers a 3-2 second-round elimination victory over the Maple Leafs on May 4, 2004, at the Air Canada Centre. Incredibly, five members of that losing Leafs team -- Mats Sundin, Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Ron Francis and Brian Leetch -- have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In those nine subsequent years, no Maple Leafs team has stepped on to the ice for a post-season game, a span in which the franchise has gone through two lockouts, three GM and coaching changes each, and plenty of heartache for their loyal legion of fans.

As former Leafs goalie Curtis Joseph put it: "There are nine-year-old kids who have never seen the Leafs in a playoff game."

So, after nine long years, why has this particular Leafs team managed to accomplish what previous editions failed to do in almost a decade?

In response to that question, here are nine key factors that have allowed the Leafs to reach the playoffs for the first time in nine years.