LGD: Dealing with the Devils (again)

Jeff Veillette
January 06 2017 11:08AM

The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New Jersey Devils faced off, the red and black did the blue and white a solid favour and let Auston Matthews tear down his scoring wall. That was just about the only positive in the game, as the Leafs saw their 3-0 lead evaporate and turn into a shootout loss.

Tonight, they'll be looking for the full two points as they aim to jump into a playoff spot.

The Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff

LW C RW
Leo Komarov 
Leo Komarov
Nazem Kadri 
Nazem Kadri
William Nylander 
William Nylander
Zach Hyman 
Zach Hyman
Auston Matthews 
Auston Matthews
Connor Brown 
Connor Brown
James van Riemsdyk 
James van Riemsdyk
Tyler Bozak 
Tyler Bozak
Mitchell Marner 
Mitchell Marner
Matt Martin 
Matt Martin
Frederik Gauthier 
Frederik Gauthier
Nikita Soshnikov 
Nikita Soshnikov

Defensive Pairings
Morgan Rielly 
Morgan Rielly
Nikita Zaitsev 
Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner 
Jake Gardiner
Connor Carrick 
Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick 
Matt Hunwick
Roman Polak 
Roman Polak
The Leafs have been playing well of late, and they've been getting results, and everybody's healthy. Why mess with that? That's the feeling right now, and while there was a quick morning skate scare with Morgan Rielly getting a day off, it appears to just be a maintenance situation and he'll be good to go today.

The Devils

New Jersey Devils lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff

LW C RW
Michael Cammalleri 
Michael Cammalleri
Adam Henrique 
Adam Henrique
Kyle Palmieri 
Kyle Palmieri
Taylor Hall 
Taylor Hall
Pavel Zacha 
Pavel Zacha
P.A. Parenteau 
P.A. Parenteau
Sergey Kalinin 
Sergey Kalinin
Travis Zajac 
Travis Zajac
Nick Lappin 
Nick Lappin
Miles Wood 
Miles Wood
Devante Smith-Pelly 
Devante Smith-Pelly
Beau Bennett 
Beau Bennett

Defensive Pairings
Damon Severson 
Damon Severson
Kyle Quincey 
Kyle Quincey
Jon Merrill 
Jon Merrill
Ben Lovejoy 
Ben Lovejoy
Seth Helgeson 
Seth Helgeson
Steven Santini 
Steven Santini
That first line was the one that really did the Leafs in last game, and with this one also being in New Jersey, they'll have the opportunity they need to pick their matchups. The hope will be that there was a bit of luck involved and that a well-rested Leafs roster is more prepared to contain them and the rest of the squad.

Starting Goaltenders

Last time the two teams faced off, Jhonas Enroth started for the Leafs and it didn't go so well. Today, it'll be Frederik Andersen. He's been a workhorse for Toronto this year, but his first two starts of 2016 haven't gone great, with him allowing 10 goals on 66 shots. I'd likely chalk that up to an outdoor game and an outlier night; hopefully he can bounce back.

Cory Schneider will return to the net for the Devils, like he did in the last matchup and like he does in most games. He had a slow start to his year but has stopped 51 of 52 in his last pair of games. He gave up four in 31 in their last game but ultimately got the W.

What To Look Out For

Don't take off the gas at any point in this one. I mean it. The last matchup was one of the worst of these "epic collapse" games this year and the players can't be thinking about coughing up the lead again. Play every minute like you're down by two, desperately needing to get another.

Also, I hope everybody has a secret shootout move up their sleeve, just in case. Schneider proved he knew the book last time, even re-watching footage before it all went down. Don't give him that chance again.

Puck drop for tonight's game is at 7:30 EST. Catch it on Sportsnet Ontario.

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Managing Editor of Hockey Content at the Nation Network. Just here so I'll get the opposite of fined. If you'd like to collaborate or simply have a question, email me at jeff@veillette.me