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Keys to the Game: Leafs vs. Stars

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs host the Dallas Stars tonight at Air Canada Centre. Here’s what Toronto must focus on to extend their four-game point streak (3-0-1) to a season high five.

Quality not quantity

The Maple Leafs proved what they can do when they get quality scoring opportunities and capitalize on their chances. On Saturday, The Leafs scored six goals, despite registering a season-low shots on goal with 23. Dallas rank 30th when it comes to shots on goal. The Stars rank dead last in the NHL in goals against per game. They also hold the worst winning percentage when outshooting their opponents (.100). Good scoring opportunities will result in goals, especially with Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen struggling mightily this season.

Target the offence

The Stars are loaded with talent up front, which will prove to be a tough challenge for Toronto’s defence. Jamie Benn and NHL league leader Tyler Seguin provide talent on the team’s first line. Jason Spezza adds his scoring expertise on the second line. Seguin has always rose to the occasion against the Maple Leafs. In 18 career games against Toronto, he has scored 10 times, more than against any other opponent he has played against.

Set the tone

The Leafs are 9-0-0 this season when they score the first goal. Only the Montreal Canadiens have been able to match Toronto with a perfect record in this stat category. While the Leafs have been a resilient team with respect to responding after a tough loss, they haven’t exhibited a similar ability within the games. So long as it works for now, setting the tone early and grabbing the first goal means a win. Close games where they didn’t score the first goal haven’t happened. The Leafs are winners of two games out of seven in games decided by one goal.

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