The Toronto Maple Leafs have almost completed their 2012-13 campaign.
They have had a good run thus far and currently sit in fifth place in the East. The Leafs have had highs and lows in this lockout-shortened season, and barring any crazy collapse, they stand on the cusp of reaching a certain place I will not repeat yet.
In order to reach such a mythical and promising area, the Buds must ensure that a few issues are confronted and resolved.
If the following three keys are met, the Blue and White can round out their season strongly.
The Blue and White's offence has been led by Nazem Kadri, who is having an exceptional year. He's collected a cool 39 points.
Joffrey Lupul was also hot before suffering an injury in his latest game.
The Buds need to get their cold players hot for these final games. The line of Kessel, Bozak and van Riemsdyk will need to try and catch fire once again and take some pressure off of Kadri.
Other players like Grabovski, MacArthur and Kulemin will need to start contributing some offense as well.
For the Leafs to do well the rest of the season, balanced scoring from the top three lines is essential.
Defense has always been a concern for the Leafs. Despite scoring 115 goals so far, they have also allowed 105.
A big way to change this will be to play tougher and smarter in their own zone. The defence core will need to clear the puck effectively away from any dangerous areas.
Not giving the puck away while under pressure is something else that will lead to dramatic improvements for the Blue and White.
The final piece of advice is to keep the front of the net cleared. One thing that will help is when newly acquired Ryan O'Byrne makes his debut.
The former Avalanche player is a giant body in front of the net who will make sure opponents stay clear of the crease.
Both James Reimer and Ben Scrivens have had solid campaigns.
Reimer is 13-5-4 with two shutouts. His save percentage is .917 at this point of the season.
Scrivens sits at 7-8-0 with a pair of shutouts. His save percentage is .918 right now.
Both goalies have had tremendous games so far this season, and their high level of play will need to continue as the Leafs wind down their season.
A good goalie can always give you a chance to win a game. Reimer and Scrivens have done it before, and their continued success in the blue paint will be a big factor during the rest of the Buds' season.
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