GDT: Toronto at New Jersey (7:30 pm, TSN)

GDT: Toronto at New Jersey (7:30 pm, TSN)

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Fresh off a 7-3-1 month of October, the Maple Leafs begin November on a mini road trip which will take them to New Jersey (tonight) and Columbus (Thursday) before returning home to face Boston on Saturday.  A quick start to the month will be essential for the Leafs if they hope to finally eradicate the Ghost of November Past.

Maple Leafs‘ November record, post-lockout:

2010-11: 3-7-3 | 2009-10: 5-5-3 | 2008-09: 4-6-3 | 2007-08: 4-6-3
2006-07: 7-6-1 | 2005-06: 8-5-1

Game Notes:

  • New Jersey enters this game at 4-4-1 following an uneven start to the season, with top players Ilya Kovalchuk (9-2-4-6) and Zach Parise (9-4-1-5) struggling to find consistency.
  • Joey Crabb makes his season debut tonight for the Maple Leafs, after posting 15 points in 9 games (7G, 8A) with the AHL Toronto Marlies. Crabb is not expected to contribute much offense to the Maple Leafs, but rather to play a dependable two-way game as a winger on the 3rd line.
  • Jonas Gustavsson gets the start for the Leafs tonight, with James Reimer a possibility to return tomorrow in Columbus. Against the Devils,  Gustavsson has a lifetime .916 save percentage — which dips to .896 in road visits to New Jersey.
  • Martin Brodeur returns from injury tonight.  Interestingly, Brodeur — one of the game’s greats — has a lifetime .879 save percentage when playing at home against Toronto.

Opponent Killers:

  • Toronto: Phil Kessel, 4-12-16 in 19 career games versus New Jersey
    New Jersey: Ilya Kovalchuk, 16-19-35, 35 career games versus Toronto

Injury Report:

  • New Jersey: Travis Zajac (achilles – out), Eric Boulton (hand – game decision)
  • Toronto: Colby Armstrong (ankle – out), Jake Gardiner (foot – game decision), James Reimer (concussion – out)

Fun with Numbers:

  • The Maple Leafs are tied for 6th best in the NHL with 36 goals scored.  The Devils rank 29th with only 20 goals scored.
  • The Devils are tied for 6th best in the NHL with only 24 goals against. The Maple Leafs rank 24th in the NHL with 35 goals against.
  • The Maple Leafs have 4 players with 4 or more goals (Kessel, Lupul, Grabovski, MacArthur), and 3 players (Kessel, Lupul, Phaneuf) with double-digit points.
  • The Devils have 2 players with 4 or more goals (Elias and Parise have 4 apiece), and none of their players have reached double-digit points.