The Maple Leafs host the Nashville Predators for the first and only time this season at Air Canada Centre.
Here are the Leafs’ three keys to success:
Cut through the Nashville Defence
The Predators sit in second place in the central division. The team has only given up an average of two goals a game. With the Leafs scoring just three goals over their past two contests, it’ll be a tall order to put some traffic in front of expected Nashville starting goaltender Pekka Rinne. The Predators hold the league’s best goals for/against radio at 1.74 (compare that to 1.03 of the Maple Leafs). An aggressive forecheck by the Leafs means a win for Toronto.
The Rielly Factor
Morgan Rielly isn’t known for his prolific offence, but the Predators have been one of the few teams that have brought out his scoring touch. Rielly has three assists in two career games against Nashville. Nazem Kadri has a goal and two assists in three career games against Nashville.
Special Teams Opportunity
The Maple Leafs had a solid power-play this season, but over the course of the past two games that success had dried up. Nashville holds the third worst penalty-kill in the league. Getting the power-play to execute will allow for the offence to ignite.
Peter Holland scored his first goal as a Maple Leaf in the only meeting between the Predators and Leafs at Air Canada Centre last season. That meeting was 362 days ago on Nov. 21, 2013
Rinne Magic, except against Toronto
Pekka Rinne has the fourth best goals against average (1.92) and fifth best save percentage (.929). But against the Maple Leafs, he’s had below average performances, posting a 3.15 goals against average and .894 save percentage.