The Maple Leafs’ final regular-season home game of the 2023-24 season should be a doozy. Auston Matthews chases 70 goals, Timothy Liljegren returns to the lineup, and former Leaf James Reimer reaches the 500-game milestone as Toronto hosts Detroit in a near do-or-die situation for the Red Wings (7:00 p.m. EST, Sportsnet/HNIC).

Game Day Quotes

Patrick Kane on Auston Matthews closing in on 70 goals:

Incredible career, but what he is doing this year with his production is pretty incredible. You see a guy who wants to produce every night and is not satisfied with where he is in his game. He knows how good he is as well.

When Stamkos and Ovechkin hit 60, it seemed like a big number. 70 seemed out of reach for anyone. Even this year, it didn’t seem like a realistic number, but here we are. He is right there. He’s had five or six hat tricks as well, so that adds up. It’s off the charts. It is incredible.

… There is a lot of talk about his shot and his release, but a lot of his goals are scored around the net, too, right in the crease. He can score any way. He scores pretty goals, dirty goals, one-timers, wrist shots, and snap shots by changing his release angle.

Kane on former Blackhawks teammate Max Domi:

There would be times when I took a regular hit and he would fight. I would say, “Dude, it’s just a normal hit. You don’t have to fight.” He loves his teammates. I played with him for a short time, but I feel like I have a friend for life.

Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde on Matthews’ 2023-24 season:

Seeing him over the years, including in Tampa in the playoffs the past two years, he has elevated his game in all areas. It’s obvious what he does goal-scoring-wise, but in that first round—which I did on TV last year—I was extremely impressed with his compete, his battle, and his will.

You see these superstars evolve, and yes, it is on the ice, but usually, it’s what is important to him off the ice. He looks really motivated to win. It is impressive and fun to watch.

Moritz Seider on the meaning of tonight’s game for the Red Wings;

We have everything on the line right now. It’s like a do-or-die game. We’re really prepared for this opportunity. We showed in the past that we can play with the Leafs and even beat them, so why not tonight?

Lalonde on what the team is looking to replicate about its 4-2 win in Toronto in January:

Watching that back in a couple of meetings we have had, you will not completely shut down Toronto and their offense, but you do the best you can to take away time and space. Over 200 feet in that game, we did a pretty good job of it.

We are going to need the same type of effort tonight. They don’t need a whole lot to create offense. If we give them anything easy, it will be a long night for us.

Morgan Rielly on Timothy Liljegren’s return to the lineup:

Prior to his injury, I thought he was playing outstanding. You can tell with him when he is making plays, skating, and has that confidence about him. He is extremely dangerous. He has grown a lot. When he is on top of his game, he is a great player for us.

Rielly on the team’s goals in the final three games:

You want to tighten everything up. You want to tighten up your special teams, your breakouts, and your gaps as D. You want to be feeling good.

You have to do what you have to do as an individual to get your game in a place where you feel good. As a team, you want to make sure everything is dialed with the special teams and everything that comes down to structure and team mentality.

Nick Robertson on the challenge against the Red Wings tonight:

A playoff-style game. Detroit is fighting for a playoff spot. It is good for us to get that mentality right away in a playoff game. Hopefully, we can get a win in our last regular-season home game.

Lalonde on James Reimer’s 500-game milestone:

These milestones are impressive. 80th goalie to reach 500 games, and the way he did it with compete, hard work… It is fitting he is doing it here in Toronto in a meaningful game for our organization.

Every night he is in there, you know he is going to give it his all. Battling-type of saves. He motivates us. He elevates our group when he is battling in there.

Both goalies have given us a ton. We are without our number-one goalie for most of the season. Both of these goalies have been thrust into an elevated role. They’ve been great. They’re the reason why we’re still in this battle.

Sheldon Keefe on the buzz around Matthews’ chase for 70:

I get more of a thrill just watching Auston play and where his game is at. Wherever the number gets to, I am not concerned about it and have never been concerned about it.

I am not even convinced he is concerned about it. Where it sits right now is a pretty tremendous accomplishment. We will see what the rest of the season brings starting tonight, but the most important thing for me is that his game is in good order.

He has developed tremendous chemistry with Max and Bert. It has given us so many more options as a result. That is what has really come out of this for me.

Head-to-Head Stats: Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings

In the season-to-date statistics, the Leafs hold the advantage over the Devils in five out of five offensive categories and four 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 – #74 Ryan Reaves

#44 Morgan Rielly – #46 Ilya Lyubushkin
#2 Simon Benoit – #22 Jake McCabe
#78 TJ Brodie – #37 Timothy Liljegren

Starter: #35 Ilya Samsonov
#60 Joseph Woll

Scratched/Resting: Martin Jones, Noah Gregor, Conor Timmins, Connor Dewar, Mark Giordano
Injured: Calle Jarnkrok, Joel Edmundson

Detroit Red Wings Projected Lines

#93 Alex Debrincat  – #71 Dylan Larkin – #23 Lucas Raymond
#57 David Perron – #37 J.T Compher – #88 Patrick Kane
#14 Robby Fabbri – #90 Joe Veleno – #17 Daniel Sprong
#11 Zach Aston-Reese – #21 Austin Czarnik – #36 Christian Fischer

#8 Ben Chiarot – #53 Moritz Seider
#77 Simon Edvinsson – #46 Jeff Petry
#2 Olli Maata – #41 Shayne Gostisbehere

Starter: #47 James Reimer
#34 Alex Lyon

Injured: Ville Husso, Andrew Copp