The Leafs host Columbus for the second of three meetings this season. Here are the Leafs keys to a victory.
Commitment to defence
While not getting the desired result, the Maple Leafs did an excellent job of limiting shots against and keeping guys committed to defence. What ultimately did Toronto in was untimely mistakes that Washington capitalized (pun intended) on. Sticking to the same game plan and committing to defence should get the Leafs back on track.
Columbus has the third best power play in the NHL while ranking 22nd on the penalty-kill. The Leafs have given up a power play goal in five of their last six games. Toronto rank 11th in both special teams departments. The Leafs gave up a shorthanded goal in their loss to Washington and are in need of improvement away from even strength of late. A clean power play and penalty kill could be the difference for the Leafs tonight.
If there was ever a game where the Leafs didn’t need to worry about their offensive output, this would be it. While the Leafs rank among the top teams in scoring, the Jackets are among the bottom third in the NHL in goals scored per game. The Jackets are not a great five-on-five team, their goal differential at even strength is fourth-worst in the league. A commitment to defence and keeping the possession numbers high should lead to two points for Toronto.