3 Changes the Maple Leafs Need to Make in Game 2
The Toronto Maple Leafs' first foray into the postseason in nine years didn't really go as planned.
They were matched up against the 2011 Stanley Cup champions, the big bad Boston Bruins. In recent seasons, the Bruins have had their way with the Leafs both physically and on the scoresheet.
The Buds have been snake-bitten whenever they played the Bruins, and their first game showed that much had not changed.
The rough and tumble B's were able to impose their will on the Maple Leafs on the way to a lopsided 4-1 decision.
If the Blue and White hope to play a better second game, there are some definite improvements they need to make.
Here are four changes that can help the Leafs right the ship and attempt to steal a win in Boston.
Use Their Speed
It's incredibly admirable that the Leafs are attempting to beat the Bruins by being as tough as they are.
Admirable, but not very effective.
I fully understand the Leafs refuse to be pushed around anymore. But the way to beat the Bruins isn't by trying to be more physical than they are.
It's to beat them using the Leafs' superior speed.
The Blue and White have some players who can really fly. Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul and Mikhail Grabovski are able to turn on the jets and get deep into the zone once they get the puck.
The Leafs need to hit these specific players with crisp passes, and once the puck is moving head toward the net and try to get open.
Speed will lead to shots and chances, and the Leafs need more of both.
Montreal was able to successfully use this tactic and win against the Bruins this year. The Leafs would be wise to learn this lesson from their bitter rivals.
Limit the Turnovers and Defensive Lapses
The Buds made some massive defensive lapses in their first game against the Bruins.
At multiple points in the three periods they were unable to effectively clear their own zone, which then led to excellent chances for the opposing team.
When they were able to clear the puck, it wasn't put deep and the Bruins were able to gain the zone again with ease.
For Game 2, when the Leafs defense is under pressure, they need to put the puck hard off the glass, or find an open player who can get it deep.
The more time they allow the Bruins in their own zone, the more likely it will end in a goal scored on them.
Crowd the Net
Who noticed how the Leafs got their first and only goal of the game?
Points if you said it was James van Riemsdyk who shoveled in the pass from Cody Franson.
Did anyone notice where van Riemsdyk was for the majority of the power play? He was standing right in front of the Bruins net.
If the Blue and White position one player standing in front of the net and disrupting the vision of the Bruins netminder, it could go a long way in helping the Buds pot a few goals.
They don't need to be pretty goals by any stretch, but any would be of great help to the Maple Leafs.
They need to get to the dirty areas and crowd the net in order to get some good chances that could pay massive dividends.
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