Toronto Maple Leafs (22-13-4) vs New York Rangers (19-16-4)
The Toronto Maple Leafs look to complete a home-and-home sweep of the New York Rangers to solidify their all-but-certain playoff spot.
The last matchup on Monday saw the Leafs outclass a Ranger team many people had as the pre-season favourite to win the Stanley Cup. Toronto was faster, harder on pucks, matched them physically, bore down on all their chances and were simply the better of the two teams. Toronto is no longer sneaking up on people and New York is going to look to avoid the Dion Phaneuf vs. Brad Richards/Rick Nash matchup now that they get last change on home ice. Both times Tortorella was able to get his matchup, Nash burned Franson for one goal and Fraser for the other. Dion’s ability to shut down the best players in the league — positionally and physically — is something to behold this season. John Tortorella will be trying to get his top line out against the Franson/Fraser pairing as much as he can and I’m sure the Randy Carlyle will be trying to pair up the Grabovski line with that pairing to offset any defensive weaknesses. Should be an interesting to-and-fro this evening from a coaching standpoint.
The Rangers are going to have to respect Toronto’s quick transition game, as it cost them the game on Monday. Lundqvist had a game he’d like back and will be looking to rebound against the Buds. Toronto can’t get too ahead of themselves with overconfidence or fancy play and will have to maintain a big net presence and drive tons of traffic his way if they are to be successful against the league’s defending Vezina winner.
You can’t expect to score 4 goals against the Rangers twice in 3 days — especially on the road.
Matt Frattin, Joe Colborne, Jake Gardiner and Mike Kostka are all expected to be healthy scratches.
*Lineups may change; that was the last word on them.
Scott Gordon Speaks to Henny about the Special Teams that he has been such a big part of:
Leafs Preview with Henny and Jim Ralph.
And finally, let us not forget today is Dion Phaneuf’s birthday—and for him we are thankful.
Which brings us to: