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Keys to the Game: Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs are in Montreal to take on the Canadiens. Here are the Leafs three keys to a victory.

Get to the net

The Maple Leafs were beat two weeks ago by the stellar goaltending of Carey Price. As is normally the case when a goaltender is on his game, the Leafs need to find a way to get to the net and cause all kinds of problems for the opposing goaltender. Basically, they have to take the goalie’s eyes away. Price is being talked about as a Hart trophy candidate as a reason. The Canadiens have been very ordinary without him. Take away the goalie, and the playing field is even.

Faceoff Battle

The Canadiens are the second best faceoff team in the league right now at 53.6%. Compare that to the Maple Leafs 48% and they will be in tough to improve in that department. Olli Jokinen wasn’t part of the Leafs when these teams last met two weeks ago. In his four games, Jokinen has won more faceoffs than he lost in just one game. With both teams struggling for possession, winning the faceoff could make the difference. There was an even 50/50 split on the draw during the last meeting, that game ended in a shootout.

Best players must produce

The Maple Leafs have had their top players finding the back of the net over the course of the last couple of games. With the likes of Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri ending scoring droughts, some confidence is starting to brew. These players have to produce. If any one of them have a multiple point night, Toronto will win. It will also help if the Leafs get a goaltending performance similar to the one Jonathan Bernier gave them on Thursday night.

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