Toronto Maple Leafs’ Aggressive Play in All Three Zones Helps Spark Offense
The Toronto Maple Leafs have not had any trouble scoring goals lately as they are currently led by a potent offense that looks to create chances from all three zones of play in order to continue to dictate the pace while also taking advantage of the mistakes made by their opponents.
In other words, Toronto has recently found ways to play good counterattacking offense by using their speed to punish opponents who are not careful while possessing the puck. To me this is the key to success for a team that gives up a lot of shots against. As long as they get steady play in goal, there is no reason to think that they shouldn’t win games by scoring five or six goals.
One huge key to playing aggressive in all three zones is Phil Kessel (no surprise there). Kessel is extremely fast and often shoots when goalies are not expecting it. He also has a way of using his speed to make others around him better, including the also speedy Tyler Bozak who is more adept at using his speed when he is trapped in his own zone.
Another player who takes advantage of his speed to break out of his own zone is Nazem Kadri. Kadri’s play has improved to the point where it seems that he is contributing points every night, and a lot of that is due to his ability to push the pace on opponents who are trying to make calm, calculated plays on the puck.
D-men who make strong plays with the puck such as Jake Gardiner, Cody Franson and Dion Phaneuf may not be extraordinarily fast, but they are able to push the puck up ice while retaining it pretty well. Morgan Reilly has also shown promise, but he is not quite there yet in terms of an all-around game.
Between forwards who quickly carry the puck out of their own zone and players on D who quickly traverse the neutral zone, there are many Leafs who take advantage of their speed and good hands to convert their offensive chances quickly.