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Keys to the Game: Maple Leafs vs. Islanders

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs are on Long Island tonight, looking for their first road victory of 2015. Here are the Leafs three keys to a win.

Attack the net

The Maple Leafs found success early in the season against the Islanders by getting traffic to the net. They also exposed Jaroslav Halak’s blocker for virtually every goal scored. Well, a lot has changed since then. The Islanders currently sit atop the Metropolitan division standings with 71 points, and Halak is closing in on history, needing only three more wins to match the franchise record for wins in a season. The Leafs have to be aggressive and get to the net. Halak’s blocker side may not be as easy as it was back in October.

Special Team success a must

The Maple Leafs have scored power play goals in three consecutive games. That’s good news considering they are taking on an Islanders team ranked last on the penalty-kill (72.5%). With the Islanders ability to put up a lot of goals, they do give up their fair share. The power play represents the Maple Leafs’ best chance to score.

Limit Johnny T

John Tavares has 20 points in 18 career games against the Maple Leafs. He is the Islanders’ leading scorer. He’s the leader of the offence and has a solid two-way game to go along with it. The Leafs will have a tough task in presenting the appropriate shutdown line for Tavares, who will be flanked by Anders Lee and Josh Bailey. Limit Tavares, and take away the Islanders most potent weapon.

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