The Maple Leafs tangle with the Detroit Red Wings for the fourth time this season. Here are the three keys to a successful visit to Motown.
They are always a threat, and when Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg or Johan Franzen get going, the Leafs typically get burned. Not helping matters is the play of Tomas Tatar. The Detroit left-winger is on pace for a career year with 20 points in 28 games. Being on the road, the Leafs will want to look to slow down the pace of the game. The boring tight-checking game that will suck the life out of the building will be key. Not having the last line change will hurt the Leafs, but they’ll have to make due.
Cool them down
The Leafs have to make playing in their zone uncomfortable. The Red Wings have been on fire. Since losing to Toronto in their last meeting, Detroit is 7-1-0 and they have scored at least three goals in all eight of those contests. James Reimer is expected to get the start in goal and he’ll need his best showing. Reimer’s being fed to the wolves in some ways. But that’s just the way he likes it. He’ll be motivated, hoping to atone for a bad appearance in relief, during the Leafs 9-2 loss in Nashville back in November.
Win two of three: PP, PK and 5-on-5.
The Detroit Red Wings are much like the Pittsburgh Penguins this year, ranking near the top in power-play, penalty-kill and 5-on-5 goals scored/against ratio. If the Leafs are going to beat Detroit, they will need to be the better team in at least two of these categories. The power-play should have no problem, as the Leafs have six goals with the man advantage over their last five games. On Wednesday, they will have to try and keep that going.