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Keys to the Game: Maple Leafs vs. Kings

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs kick off a four-game road trip tonight, taking on the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Here are the Leafs’ three keys to a win.

Stick to committed defence

The Maple Leafs have played two consecutive games where they allowed fewer shots on goal, and with it, fewer scoring opportunities. The Leafs will have a tough time against a team that has played this way successfully for so many years. The Kings have struggled lately, losing six of their last seven games. If the Leafs play with the same commitment that has been exhibited over the last couple of games, their road trip should start with a victory.

Power play resurgence

It started on Saturday with the Maple Leafs scoring two power play goals while on a two-man advantage. Meanwhile, the Kings have been in trouble lately while shorthanded. They have given up four power play goals over the past three games and their PK has fallen to 25th in the NHL. That is the lowest level of PK success for the franchise since they finished 27th in that category back in 2008-09. The Leafs have an opportunity to strike first and win the special teams battle.

Press the Kings defence

Playing with an aggressive forecheck is obvious but the Kings' recent issues boil down to holes in defence. With Slava Voynov gone for an indefinite amount of time, others have been forced to log extra minutes and try to fill the void. The task has proven to be difficult for the Kings to adjust to, and the Leafs have the talent up front to make things difficult for them. Look for the Leafs to buzz around the Kings net and exploit their tired defence.

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