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Leafs v. Habs: Game Day Thoughts

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It goes without saying that this is an important game for the Leafs. Two points would be great but it is more important that they put in the kind of effort that got them off to a good start. Here are the five keys to a win:

  1. The defensive zone coverage has to be miles better than it has been the last couple of games. The defencemen, especially, have to do a better job of looking over their shoulders to spot the forwards.

  2. Mats and Wellwood have to find their game after three largely anonymous games. The skipper is settling for shots from the perimeter far too often and Wellwood needs to start taking more shots because it is far too evident that he looks for the pass first almost to a fault.

  3. Keep it simple stupid. The Leafs have to get back to clearing the zone first and looking for the nice pass second. The last couple of games the Leafs have shipped a handful of goals because they have coughed up the puck when they have been on the verge of clearing the zone.

  4. The team's concentration has to be better. The senators scored goals in bunches because the team suffered serious lapses in concentration that resulted in tap-in goals.

  5. Hit the net. The forwards did not take advantage of a shaky Ray Emery on Thursday because they missed too many easy shots. In the third period alone I counted 5 shots that Emery flapped at that missed the net.

The bottom line is that the team has to play smart (not smarter because it's been pretty dumb) and with more effort. The big three of Sundin, Kaberle, and McCabe have to be the team's best players to give them any chance to succeed. They do not have to be perfect but they have to be a lot closer to it than they have been lately. Here is some inspiration, a perfect break in snooker.