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Keys to the Game: Maple Leafs vs. Devils

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs

It seems as though it was just last week that the Leafs were in Newark, New Jersey to take on the Devils. Well, that’s because they were. Here are the Leafs’ three keys to snapping out of a 10-game winless skid.

Attack the slot, go for the high percentage shots.

The Maple Leafs have done a better job in terms of defence and possession, but a majority of their scoring chances have come from the outside. There needs to be a conscious effort to attack the middle. Getting into the high and low slot provides shots with a greater success rate. With goals coming at a premium, getting between the faceoff circles provide the best chance to erase what has been ailing the Leafs. Time to bury the opportunities.

Red hot, cool them down.

The Devils are 4-0-1 in their past five games, playing their best hockey since the all-star weekend. New Jersey goaltender Cory Schneider has allowed just four goals in his last three games, while Mike Cammalleri has goals in back-to-back games (his last one, his 7th game-winning goal of the season at the expense of the Senators.) Defenceman Adam Larsson scored the lone New Jersey goal against Toronto nine days ago. All three of these players have to be taken out of their element for any Leafs success.

Stay disciplined

The Devils don’t produce a lot of offence. But when they are on the power-play, they tend to capitalize (9th in the NHL.) In the last 10 games, the only game Toronto didn’t drop in regulation was against the Devils. The problem stemmed from not generating enough offence. With a true meritocracy being established for ice-time under Leafs interim coach Peter Horachek, guys who may not have had the opportunity in crucial situations before will get their number called. Stay out of the penalty box, and the Leafs should be just fine.

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