Andersen is all business for Leafs

Elvis Presley used to wear a gold necklace with the initials TCB — Takin’ Care Of Business.

With the Vegas Golden Knights in town on Tuesday — and the Leafs getting a bad reputation for losing focus at home — time for TCB at the SBA. Fortunately, the Leafs have Frederik Andersen, who has hardly lapsed in a string of five home games with no goals in the first 40 minutes. The Dane has kept his team in most of those contests and offered some advice Monday as Toronto prepares for two matches on Bay St. this week.

“Playing at home is different,” Andersen said after his 31-save weekend shutout in Pittsburgh tied him for the league lead with seven wins. “On the road, it’s easier, a more businesslike mentality to have. At home, there’s more stuff to deal with. It’s not a guarantee that you come out (with a full game face). You still have a lot of small things adding up; such as getting tickets for people or a lot of guys have family in town. Those things can add up.

“Just like when you’re trying to get better, you try and add small percentages, like you would with nutrition. (But) if you lose a percentage of nutrition focusing on the other stuff throughout the day, then it works both ways.”

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Certainly other Leafs are getting tired of the growing home-road imbalance. They’re undefeated on the road (6-0-0), two games under .500 at home where they set a team record for wins last year.

“We’re happy the way we played against Pittsburgh, but it’s important that we do that every night,” defenceman Morgan Rielly said. “With less ups and downs. Those teams who find a way to be good every single night — that’s who we want to be.”

Andersen and the Leafs are at a bit of a disadvantage against a club they’ve only played twice and not since New Year’s Eve.

“That’s when I get some good help from (goalie coach) Steve Briere, from his homework on how they play,” Andersen said. “He can’t obviously predict how they’ll generate chances, but teams have tendencies. And the same goes for our coaches on the pre-scout. The most important thing is us coming out, demanding the puck and wanting to take over the game.”

Andersen leads more by example because of his position, where alternate captain Rielly has been taking a larger role all over the ice — and off it.

“I don’t think he’s (just developed) enthusiasm or his love of the game, I think you bring that with you,” praised Babcock. “I think (former captain) Dion Phaneuf was really good for Mo and (Jake) Gardiner, he looked after them, he protected them and was a real solid citizen himself. But now they’ve been around and know what it takes.

“Morgan comes in here fired up every day. You all know people who are like that and people who aren’t. Who do you want to hang out with?”

ODDS ARE LEAFS ARE READY FOR VEGAS THIS TIME

The only people in Maple Leafs sweaters who had any fun last time Toronto and Golden Knights met back on New Year’s Eve were the thousands who partied afterwards on the Vegas Strip.

The players were already on the plane after their 6-3 whuppin’. The National Hockey League expansion newbie Golden Knights took three of a possible four points from the Maple Leafs in the season series and just to rub it in, they beat them to the Stanley Cup final, despite Toronto having a 50-year head start.

“I don’t think they’re a surprise anymore, that’s for sure,” Toronto forward Zach Hyman said. “They’re quick, that’s their identity, they come at you in waves. We’ll be ready for that.”

Leafs coach Mike Babcock saw some of the Vegas-Carolina game from Saturday and broke down assistant D.J. Smith’s video from last year’s meetings before Monday’s practice.

“We had a good look at it this morning and know how good they are, how fast they are and how deep they are,” Babcock said.

The Leafs will be going out West themselves next week, but flying over Vegas to play in Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose. The trip starts Saturday in Boston, a back-to-back with this week’s other home game against New Jersey.

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Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies