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Keys to the Game: Maple Leafs vs. Capitals

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs are in Washington as they get set for game number two of a four-game road trip. Here are the Leafs three keys to a win against the Capitals.

Capital funk

Washington have dropped three straight games ahead of tonight. They are nine points clear of losing their wild card spot so panic has not yet set in. But there is a sense of urgency for the Capitals to get back on the right track. The Captials are eighth in the NHL when it comes to scoring goals, but have scored just five times over the last three games.

Set the pace

The Leafs just haven’t been able to get off to a good start. They tried to set the pace on Saturday, but untimely errors led to an early Montreal lead. Washington has failed to get the first goal in their last four games. With the Leafs coming off a back-to-back, setting the pace early is an absolute must. The pace tends to slow as the final 20 minutes sets in and the Leafs legs start getting tired.

Strong on the kill

Although they have scored just one power play goal in their last four games, the Capitals still own the second best man-advantage ranking (second, 23.3%). The Maple Leafs went perfect on the PK last night, but had given up eight power play goals in the five games prior to it. The Capitals have weapons and know how to use them. The Leafs could be in for a long night if their penalty kill isn’t up to par. With some of the players they have lost (Daniel Winnik in particular who was the anchor to the penalty kill), the Leafs will be up against it.

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