The Maple Leafs take on the Vancouver Canucks tonight at Air Canada Centre. Here are the Leafs three keys to victory.
Keep emotions in check
When these team meet, the games get very physical. There is no doubt that players like David Booth and Mike Santorelli will be looking to prove something against their former team. The important thing for both players to keep in mind is to channel those emotions the right way. The Canucks are the top team in the Western conference, undergoing quite a turnaround year. If the Leafs continue to show their discipline and stay away from the penalty box, they should be in good shape.
Possess the puck
The Canucks are a team that have consistently won in all situations. The ones in which they don’t have favourable results are when they lose the battle for faceoffs. The Leafs have to put an emphasis on winning the draws and dictating the play. The Canucks have won games regardless of shot count. Quality scoring chances are the only way the Leafs should expect to walk away with two points.
Coming in hot
The Canucks confidence is the highest it has been in two years. They sit first in the NHL’s Western Conference and are coming of a 3-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team Toronto wasn’t able to beat in all three tries this season. The Leafs will have to play tight in their own zone and limit their mistakes. Phil Kessel has to the Leafs best player and he’s done it against the Canucks before, registering five goals and three assists in eight career games against Vancouver. He registered his first ever Gordie Howe hat trick in the last meeting between these two teams.