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Keys To The Game: Leafs vs. Devils

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs play their first game in a week. Here are the Leafs’ three keys to a win in New Jersey.

Set the tone
Due to the break, it may take a while for both teams to get up to speed. The team that does it faster will hold the advantage. While the Leafs have had issues scoring lately, that problem has plagued the Devils all season. An attack on the net early and an established tone will help the Leafs snap their six-game losing streak. Leo Komarov is expected to return and a big hit from him could make a difference. Playing alongside Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel will also be an interesting dynamic.

Due to bust out
Having missed the previous meeting between these teams, Jaromir Jagr is set to make his return from injury Wednesday. Jagr hasn’t registered points against the Maple Leafs since March 29th, 2012. On that night, Jagr had three assists in a Flyers 7-1 rout of Toronto. The Devils have been lighting the lamp, potting 11 goals over their last three games. Jagr will look to pounce on a Phaneuf-less Maple Leafs team.

Keeping shots down. Does it matter?
For the sake of the Leafs’ long term progress, they will want to keep shots down. However, it’s not an absolute necessity to have an edge in shots on goal. The Devils have a league-worst 20% success rate when they outshoot their opponent. The Leafs haven’t fared well in that department either, and keeping shots to a minimum is still a necessity for sustained success. No better way to put that to the test, than matching up against a team that has been among the best at limiting chances over the course of the last 20 years.

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