Maple Leaf's Ron Wilson: "We've Got to Just Stick with It and We'll Score"

Eric WarrenCorrespondent IINovember 25, 2009

WOODRIDGE, IL - AUGUST 17:  Head coach Ron Wilson runs drills during the USA Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Orientation Camp on August 17, 2009 at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

He's right. The Leafs have averaged a league leading 34.7 shots per game this year, the law of averages dictates that eventually, some of them will start to go in. When they start, it will look like bucket fulls.

One thing that the Leafs haven't usually had trouble with is scoring. They were fifth in the league last year and have been around that mark on a consistent basis.

Until this year.

Currently, the Leafs sit in 23rd overall, with an average of 2.54 per, slightly below the league average of 2.91.

While one could easily dismiss the Leafs dismal record by saying "they just aren't finishing," or "their forwards just suck,"  but while that may be partially true, if you are focusing on one of those things then you're simply missing something.

There are several teams who score less than the Leafs who have better records. St Louis, Montreal, Buffalo, New Jersey, Phoenix, and Nashville among them.

One obvious difference is goal-tending and defense. Most of the teams in front of the Leafs in the standings simply have better goal-tending, some have better defensive players, but largely, the difference isn't the forwards.

The Leafs will score more, that is obvious, but, if they can't figure out a way to help their goalies out a little, they simply won't win.

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The Leafs power play has slipped some in recent games as well, but on the flip side, their scoring five on five is getting better. I would rather see a high percentage in the team's five-on five-play than on its power play, simply because you can't predict getting power plays.

The Leafs are very good on the fore check and spend a lot of time in the opposing end,  it is only a matter of time until the dam breaks.

The defense is another story. The "new" NHL typically demands a lot of scoring from the back end to be successful, which, conversely, means you have to have a defensive corps that is fast.

The Toronto defense, with Karl Gunnarsson, Tomas Kaberle and Ian White, can have some speed, but Luke Schenn isn't the quickest and neither is Francois Beauchemin.

While you can adjust, to a degree, for each team you face, there should be a standard practice. A slower player should hang back a little no matter what, and be more of a "stay at home" type of defender.

One of the Leafs biggest weaknesses is the defense's penchant for getting burned by the quick out-pass from the opposition, and teams plan for that.

If the Leafs work to eliminate that potential, it would go a long way to helping as well.

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