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Keys to the Game: Maple Leafs vs. Senators

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs


The Maple Leafs are in Ottawa for their final game before the All-Star break. Here are the Leafs three keys to a much needed two points.

Score first, score early, score

The Leafs offence is lacking, along with their confidence. In his post-game comments following a 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes, interim head coach Peter Horachek said his team had a tendency to cheat after allowing the first goal. It likely had to do with the Leafs’ trend of giving up the first goal its last seven games. That has to come to an end in Ottawa. After the Leafs’ top line was a minus-4, there will be some tinkering. The combination of James van Reimsdyk with Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel should bring a new look to the offence.

Goaltending

Simply put, it has to be better. Jonathan Bernier has struggled in the month of January and the door is open for James Reimer to get some games in. Based on his excellent history against the Senators, it’s likely we see Reimer in goal tonight. He is 10-2-1 with a .942 save percentage and 2.05 goals-against average all-time in matchups with the Sens. An improved goaltending situation for Toronto should inspire better play offensively.

Get to the net

There’s been a lack of net presence from some Leafs forwards as of late. One of the Senators biggest strengths is in goal. Should Craig Anderson get the nod between the pipes for Ottawa, the Leafs will have to find a way to make life difficult around him. With the Leafs new commitment to defence, everybody is cautious to pinch and be the last man back but attacking the net is the best way to getting the goals back.

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