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Keys to the Game: Maple Leafs vs. Flyers

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs take on the Flyers tonight at Air Canada Centre. Here are the three keys to a Leafs win.

Leadership prevails

With yesterday’s trade which saw Daniel Winnik get shipped to Pittsburgh, another good character presence is gone. The rest of the team will need to step up in his absence. Winnik had the most even-strength points under interim coach Peter Horachek. For a team that has struggled offensively, the best players have to be the best players. The good news is Dion Phaneuf returns after missing 12 games with a hand injury. The Maple Leafs went 2-8-2 in the span where their captain was gone. There will be some easing into the lineup for the veteran defenceman, who hasn’t missed a stretch of games this long in a few years.

Deadly power play with desperation to boot

The Flyers have the third best power play in the NHL and the Leafs have parted ways with their best penalty killer. Four points out of a playoff spot, the Flyers are desperate for two points. There will be some shuffling in penalty kill schemes with Winnik gone. If the Leafs can keep the Flyers from scoring with the man-advantage, it will go a long way to getting two points.

Giroux and Voracek run wild

Both players exploded for four points each in the last meeting between these two teams at Air Canada Centre. The last road game saw the Leafs come up short in a more defensive 1-0 loss. Should the Leafs get the quality of goaltending that gives them a chance to win and limit the chances of both Philly snipers, it should be an easier road to two points.

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