Joel Edmundson returns to the Maple Leafs lineup for the second half of a home-and-home against a Devils team now out of playoff contention. The Leafs are seeking their fourth win in a row as they attempt to chase down home-ice advantage in the final four games (7:00 p.m. EST, Sportsnet Ontario).

Game Day Quotes

Joel Edmundson on his impressions of his new team after watching from the press box:

Everyone talks about how offensive this team is, but defensively, even the young forwards who are inexperienced are coming back into the zone and playing solid defense. The top guys are heavy on their sticks. It is a hard team to play against in the defensive zone. That has been fun to watch.

Edmundson on witnessing Auston Matthews’ 70-goal chase:

I am just happy to be on this side now. Over the years, you see him taking those steps every year. Every year, he is harder to beat in the battles in the corners. He is heavy on his stick. Everyone knows his offensive ability, but he is a full 200-foot player. It is cool to watch.

Edmundson on missing time through injury so soon after joining the team:

It was definitely frustrating, but we have so many solid defensemen who can jump in. They’ve been playing solid. It makes it a little easier, but it is never fun watching hockey.

If it was playoffs, I would’ve played right through it. It wasn’t that big of an injury. We just wanted to make sure I was 100% before getting back.

I am feeling 100% now. I’ve been able to skate for the last couple of weeks. I am feeling good.

Edmundson on getting to know the defense group in Toronto:

I played with Morgan back in junior. We are all very close. A lot of the guys are chatter boxes who like to talk and have fun. I feel like I have been sitting beside someone new every day in the locker room. I am just trying to pick their brains.

Matthew Knies on the success of the fourth line (Knies – Kampf – Gregor) in New Jersey on Tuesday:

Just playing simple, playing hard, and playing physical. The line did a great job of playing below the goal line and getting opportunities by the net.

Devils head coach Travis Green on his impressions of the Leafs having seen them so often in the past few weeks:

It is no secret, especially in Toronto, where everything is magnified: They’re one of the top teams. They’re deep. They have four lines. They can put guys in and out of the lineup.

It is the same on their D. They are deep on the backend. There is no reason why they aren’t one of the top teams—and they are right now.

Green on Joel Edmundson’s return to the lineup for Toronto:

I have seen him a lot even going back to his junior days. He is a big guy and a competitive player. He is long. He has been a good defenseman in the league for a long time. It is a good addition for them.

Green on Devils call-up Graeme Clarke playing his second-ever NHL game tonight in Toronto:

It will be an exciting game. I talked to him quickly out there just to get him laughing a little bit and smiling. Whenever you are an Ontario kid, getting to play in Toronto is going to be special for him.

He might be a little bit nervous. I told him to just enjoy it and take it all in. We had him playing with Nico. Our wingers might shuffle around a little bit. We have some young guys in the lineup. We might adjust as we go.

Green on the Devils playing out the string without any playoff hopes:

You always worry when you are coaching a team and the time does come when you are not making the playoffs. You worry about a little bit of a mental letdown, but it goes back to what we have talked about since day one with our identity and being a team that can win long term and win in the playoffs.

When you love winning, and you are ultra-competitive, it doesn’t really matter if you are playing hockey or playing checkers. You are going to play the right way.

Sheldon Keefe on whether he is concerned about the team straying from the game plan to try to make sure Auston Matthews hits 70:

Am I concerned about it? Not necessarily. I think the guys have done a good job of it. It has been good.

I look at the goals that the group has scored and Auston has scored, and the process has been good. The guys haven’t cheated the game. They haven’t forced anything.

I know whether Auston should’ve been on with the goalie out got lots of play. He was going to be out. He was the next man up. He was not going to be out there 4-on-6 — it is not a situation he plays in, and to me, that would be forcing it. At 6-on-5, he was the next guy up. We just didn’t get the line change we wanted at the time.

To me, the guys are just going out and playing. That is the best way. If you want to add to your goal total, just go out and play. Those are good players who have been dominating play. Just go out and go about it the right way.

It is already remarkable what Auston has accomplished, right? The number continues to grow. No one in the league has reached this number, which is terrific to watch.

Auston is feeling really good right now. He has lots of energy. You can see it in his play. Talking to him, you can see it. You can see the way he interacts with his teammates. He is playing with a free mind. You can see it out there.

We will keep going about it. He is a big part of our team process, and he will score goals through that.

Head-to-Head Stats: Maple Leafs vs. Devils

In the season-to-date statistics, the Leafs hold the advantage over the Devils in five out of five offensive categories and three out of five defensive categories.

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines

#59 Tyler Bertuzzi – #34 Auston Matthews – #11 Max Domi
#74 Bobby McMann – #91 John Tavares – #16 Mitchell Marner
#89 Nick Robertson – #29 Pontus Holmberg – #88 William Nylander
#23 Matthew Knies – #64 David Kampf – #24 Connor Dewar

#44 Morgan Rielly – #46 Ilya Lyubushkin
#20 Joel Edmundson – #78 TJ Brodie
#2 Simon Benoit – #55 Mark Giordano

Starter: #35 Ilya Samsonov
#60 Joseph Woll

Scratched/Resting: Martin Jones, Noah Gregor, Ryan Reaves, Jake McCabe, Conor Timmins
Injured: Calle Jarnkrok, Timothy Liljegren

New Jersey Devils Projected Lines

#95 Graeme Clarke – #13 Nico Hischier – #63 Jesper Bratt
#28 Timo Meier – #56 Erik Haula – #91 Dawson Mercer
#18 Ondrej Palat – #15 Shane Bowers – #10 Alexander Holtz
#23 Kurtis MacDermid – #11 Chris Tierney – #25 Nolan Foote

#43 Luke Hughes  – #6 John Marino
#88 Kevin Bahl – #2 Brendan Smith
#71 Jonas Siegenthaler – #17 Simon Nemec

Starter: #34 Jake Allen
#40 Akira Schmid

Injured: Jack Hughes, Tomas Nosek, Dougie Hamilton, Nathan Bastian, Curtis Lazar, Kaapo Kahkonen