Tonight, the Leafs visit New Jersey. The Devils are a team that doesnâ€™t really have a chance to move up or down in the standings, having cemented 6th place 5 points ahead of Ottawa and 5 points below Philadelphia.
These teams faced each other 3 times this season. The Devils had more success having won two of those games. However, the Leafs won on November 2nd which was the last of the three meetings. The goal differential stands at 11-10 in favor of the Leafs.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
â€œItâ€™s not a given youâ€™re going to score because the other team has struggled defensively,â€ DeBoer said. â€œThereâ€™s a renewed sense of commitment to defense there under (coach) Randy (Carlyle). â€¦ I think weâ€™re going to have to work for our goals.â€
WHO TO WATCH:
Ilya Kovalchuk has points in three straight games. The winger is playing his best season as a Devil and there have been mentions of him being in the race for the Hart Trophy. Kovalchuk scored 31 goals so far and has been improving defensively. He has 74 points in 69 games played.
On Torontoâ€™s end, the usual tips apply. We need to see a complete team effort and defensive growth. More shots on net, simplify the game, take shots you can take. Having all the injuries in mind this team isnâ€™t going to win on talent and offensive flair. Need to win some with heart. Kadri could provide a good offensive spark so keep an eye open.
Joffrey Lupul (shoulder) and Nikolai Kulemin (broken finger) are most probably out for the season. Mike Browns recovery (leg) was a little slower than expected and Clarke MacArthur (upper body) and Matt Frattin (lower body) are day-to-day. The team has recalled Nazem Kadri and Ryan Hamilton on an emergency basis.
The Devils are still missing one of their most important defensemen, Henrik Tallinder, due to a blot clot. Travis Zajac has been cleared for contact but shouldnâ€™t feature in tonightâ€™s contest.