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Carlyle working hard to create favorable line matchups

by Mike Brophy

Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle places a great deal of emphasis on matching lines and his ability to get his top goal-scorer, Phil Kessel, away from Boston's top defender, Zdeno Chara, played a huge role in Toronto winning Game 2.

On Saturday night, Kessel was able to play four minutes of hockey in 5-on-5 situations without Chara on the ice, thanks the maneuverings of his coach.

Now, Carlyle will have the last change in Games 3 and 4 in Toronto.

"It's different, but you try to have the people on the ice that match up well against the opposition," Carlyle said. "The one thing you can't do is get caught in the trap of not getting your players out on the ice enough. In that respect, you do have an advantage [at home], but if they decide to, for instance, put Chara out for every defensive-zone faceoff, does that mean Phil Kessel doesn't get an offensive-zone faceoff?

Those are the things you weigh during the course of a game. At home you get the last change and last decision, but sometimes it can work against you."

The Maple also got Joffrey Lupul going on Saturday. The Toronto left wing snapped a three-game scoring drought with a pair of goals. For a guy who is used to scoring on a regular basis, going goal-less in three games didn't have him fretting on any level.

"Three games; is that what it was?" Lupul said. "I didn't know that so I guess I wasn't too worried. We're trying to win hockey games and it's no secret it's tougher to score goals. You have to get in front of the net and got to the net a little harder and I think we did that as a group."

The Maple Leafs had an optional skate at Air Canada Centre Sunday afternoon with only the healthy scratches from Saturday night joining goalies James Reimer and Ben Scrivens as well as injured defenseman Mike Kostka.

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