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Keys to the Game: Maple Leafs vs. Ducks

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs continue their California road trip in Anaheim tonight. Here are the three keys to a win.

Stick to it on defence

The Maple Leafs have buckled down and have been playing some great defensive hockey. The problem is, they have been on the other side of positive results. The important thing for the Leafs is to not get discouraged on account of a lack of offence. Los Angeles exhibited why they have been the model that teams like the Leafs are trying to emulate. Sticking to this commitment should ensure a positive result.

Avoid Temptation

This is similar to the first key, but that’s because the Leafs old offensive way of winning hockey games has proven successful against the Ducks.

“They get us into a horse race, and they’re better at that game than we are,” Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau told “Sometimes you get caught playing the other team’s game, and it seems that’s been happening to us. We’re more about getting it deep, grinding it out, attacking the nets and playing good defensively.

On December 16th, the Leafs won 6-2, but were badly outshot and gave up 42 shots on goal compared to the 27 they registered. In fact, the Leafs have won six straight games against Anaheim, outscoring them 30-12 combined.

Offence can’t come at a price of defence. Not while the Leafs are trying to learn.

Bodies to the net

Martin Jones was on his game Monday night. It’s likely Frederik Andersen will start for the Ducks. He is second in the NHL in wins with 23 and has proven to be the difference maker, especially in close games. The Leafs will have to do what they can to get bodies in the blue paint to make things difficult. Jones was good, but he saw everything. Take the goalie’s eyes away.

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