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Keys to the Game: Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs are in Montreal tonight, looking for two points on the road. Here are the Leafs' three keys to victory.

Quick start is a must

The Maple Leafs have had a poor start over their last couple of games and something has to be done to get the team more engaged from the get-go. Toronto have been outshot 35-14 in the first period of the last two games. The Canadiens are a top team in the Eastern Conference and will be looking to pounce on a very vulnerable Leafs squad. The Canadiens also have an NHL best .840 winning percentage when scoring the first goal. Give them the first goal and the Leafs will be up against it.

Goals come at a premium

The Canadiens have a league best 2.24 goals-against average. That’s largely in part to Carey Price, who has been dominant in goal this season for Montreal. Price has only given up two goals over his last two games. The Maple Leafs will need a solid goaltending performance from likely starter Jonathan Bernier, who is 1-4-1 all-time against Montreal.

Hot Habs

The Canadiens have shown an ability to light the lamp as of late. Max Pacioretty has six points in his last five games. Andrei Markov and David Desharnias have also averaged over a point a game. The Maple Leafs have to find a way to extinguish these three players in order to find success. The Canadiens also own the best faceoff winning percentage in the NHL (54.1%). The Leafs will have a tough task ahead on Saturday night.

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