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Keys To The Game: Leafs vs. Penguins

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs


The Maple Leafs host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at Air Canada Centre. Here are the three keys to extending the Leafs win streak.

Special Teams In Tough, Take the Advantage

The Maple Leafs special teams unit has been on fire as of late. The Penguins will definitely put that to the test with the best power-play in the league and fourth best penalty-kill. The Penguins had their seven-game winning streak snapped in a 5-0 loss to the New York Rangers. The power-play went 0-for-3. Power-play goals are almost a must for Toronto.

Isolate Malkin and Crosby

Both players have registered a goal and two assists in the earlier meeting between these two teams this season. They centre the top two lines making the Penguins dangerous with every shift. Sidney Crosby has 46 points in 29 games against Toronto. Malkin has 47 points in 25 games against the Leafs. A solid forcheck will be necessary to keeping the Pens at bay. The Maple Leafs had the most spread out rotation of four lines against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday. That will be a necessity against the likes of Pittsburgh.

The Big Start

The Leafs have to continue with solid 60-minutes efforts like they did against the Bruins. That begins with pressure early on. Establish the tempo early and the Leafs will stand a better chance. Spot the Penguins three goals in the opening period like they did back in October, and it will be lights out for Toronto.

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Other notables.

The Leafs have scored five or more goals in three consecutive games. The Leafs forwards have to give Kris Letang and the remainder of the Penguins defence core all kinds of fits.

Tyler Bozak has found the scoring touch whenever he takes on the Penguins. He has goals in his last three games against Pittsburgh.

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