By Shane Darrow on April 2, 2014
The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. On Tuesday night, the Leafs defeated the Calgary Flames, which ended an eight-game losing streak that couldn't have came at a worse time. Here are five ways the Leafs can get back on track.
If the Maple Leafs want to make the playoffs, it has to start with the play of Jonathan Bernier in between the pipes. Bernier has allowed 14 goals in his last four starts, which is not going to cut it if the Leafs want any hope of making the postseason.
Goaltending will be key, but the Maple Leafs are going to go as far as Dion Phaneuf allows them to go. He is the leader of this team and the main voice on the ice and in the locker room. With 137 penalty minutes this year, Phaneuf has to maintain a tough style, but he needs to refrain from getting sent to the sin bin.
Phil Kessel is having a fantastic season -- his 77 points are the fourth most in the NHL -- but if the Maple Leafs want to be successful they're going to have to find some scoring from other lines. Mason Raymond and Tyler Bozak are two guys who need to step up in the final five games of the season.
The Maple Leafs may be able to score goals, but they haven't been able to prevent them all season. They are ranked 26th as a team in goals against average and dead last in the NHL in shots allowed per game. If the Leafs continue to give up more than 35 shots and three goals per game, they don't have a chance at making the postseason.
The Maple Leafs have one of the better power plays in the NHL, but their penalty killing ability has been atrocious. Currently at 78.6 percent, the Leafs have the third-worst penalty kill in the league. Being able to kill penalties is going to be crucial down the stretch, as many games require a clutch kill late in one-goal games.
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