How does Drake have an effect on the Maple Leafs?
That’s the query we’re all asking after he probably cursed Toronto with a presumptive instagram story forward of the Maple Leafs really eliminating their opponent. While that they had an opportunity to shut out the collection in six, the reigning Stanley Cup champions pressured a decisive Game 7.
So what are the keys to every aspect transferring on to the subsequent spherical?
Round 1. Game 7.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 14, 2022
Toronto: Controlling the matchups with Auston Matthews
The Maple Leafs have residence ice for Game 7, and that’s one thing the coaches have to make use of to their benefit. At 5-on-5 on this collection, Toronto’s nonetheless producing one of many highest charges of shot makes an attempt with Matthews on the ice and passes to the slot because of each the centre’s completions and the puck transferring efforts of his proper winger, Mitch Marner. And Matthews nonetheless unsurprisingly leads the workforce in shot makes an attempt, together with from the slot.
But the Lightning are doing their finest to restrict that, particularly by getting in the way in which of his makes an attempt. So, with final change, there’s possible going to be a concerted effort to maintain Matthews away from the likes of Anthony Cirelli (who leads in blocked pictures for Tampa Bay) and Victor Hedman (who leads in blocked passes) since they’ve finished their finest to gradual one of many greatest offensive threats on this collection.
If the second line with John Tavares and William Nylander can sustain the stress they generated in Game 6, and the highest line is clicking, Tampa Bay could also be in bother.
Tampa Bay: Maintaining a lead
The Lightning blew a 2-0 lead in Game 6, which may have ended their season. Luckily, they managed to knot the sport as soon as extra to power additional time. But this might grow to be an issue in the event that they don’t deal with Toronto’s efforts to tug forward higher.
At 5-on-5, the Lightning are fantastic from an offensive technology standpoint whereas enjoying with a lead — however they aren’t ending as lots of their possibilities to construct on it. The drawback is that they’re permitting a great quantity of high quality possibilities again, and extra of these are ending up at the back of the online than anticipated. In the common season, Toronto was one of many higher groups at enjoying from behind; they’re nonetheless on the upper finish relative to different groups within the playoffs. So far, by means of six video games, Tampa Bay usually hasn’t been all that inspiring whereas behind in video games, so if that holds up on this decider, they’re going to want to construct a lead and discover a option to restrict Toronto from mounting a comeback.
Putting all of it on the road pic.twitter.com/zX8sZOdz4B
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 14, 2022
Toronto: Staying disciplined, or energy killing persistently
In Game 1, the Maple Leafs’ short-handed efforts helped them open the collection with a win. This wasn’t one thing new; fairly, it was an extension of their common season play with aggressive two-way play whereas on the penalty kill.
But now by means of six video games, Tampa Bay has seven energy play targets. Right or mistaken on the calls which can be and aren’t being made, Toronto has to work on sustaining their self-discipline, or discover a option to get again to their energy killing methods extra persistently on this matchup by disrupting their opponent in formation with their sticks, forcing the puck out of the zone (ideally with possession like within the common season), and discovering methods to check Andrei Vasilevskiy off the push.
In all conditions, the Leafs have taken 35 penalties whereas solely drawing 30. While the Lightning lead in offensive zone penalties (eight), Toronto’s on the high with 20 within the defensive finish. In Thursday evening’s recreation, the away workforce took two third interval penalties back-to-back, and the tying objective ended up at the back of the online on that 5-on-3 benefit for Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay: Protecting Andrei Vasilevskiy
Going into this collection, Tampa Bay had the bonafide edge in internet. Jack Campbell began the season sturdy, and noticed his play decline because it went on. Vasilevskiy nonetheless completed in direction of the highest of the league in targets saved above anticipated, even when he wasn’t at his common degree. But his presence outright gave the Lightning the benefit in objective.
While Toronto’s goalie is the one one to have gotten the hook at one level on this collection, their performances haven’t been all too totally different, in spite of everything. Campbell’s allowed 2.66 targets above anticipated in all conditions, whereas Vasilevskiy (in a bit extra ice time) is at 2.72. There’s a unique expectation between these two goaltenders, and possibly the Lightning aren’t accustomed to going into the post-season with out having his Conn Smythe-calibre play. But proper now that isn’t what they’re getting. So what can the workforce do to assist him get there?
Special groups apart, there’s some work to be finished at 5-on-5. There, Toronto’s created 95 slot makes an attempt, 56 of which have related on internet, and eight of which have ended up at the back of it. Both groups have generated so much off the push, however the Maple Leafs have the sting there and have created fairly a couple of scoring possibilities off the cycle in contrast to their opponent. Contributing to these high quality possibilities is the Maple Leafs’ potential to maneuver the puck to the slot, in order that’s one other space the Lightning may work to scrub up.
Looking forward to Game 7
As vast open as the start of this collection was, the previous few video games have been so much nearer. And Game 7 possible gained’t be any totally different. That’s why each high quality likelihood or each mistake issues that rather more.
The stakes are as excessive as ever, with the Maple Leafs dealing with elimination for the primary time on this collection towards a workforce that is aware of elevate its recreation when it issues essentially the most. On the opposite aspect, there’s Toronto who has to recover from this hurdle towards a workforce that could be low on fuel after two prolonged runs.
So will it’s Goodnight Tampa on Saturday evening? Or will it as soon as once more be Goodnight Toronto?
Data through Sportlogiq