LGD: Dealing with the Devils (again)

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

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

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.

  • Klas

    Leafs can climb into a playoff spot for the first time all season, and the game is blacked out on Gamecentre. It’s a god damn shame!

    P.S. 49 out of the 82 games are blacked out this season. If they make the playoffs and games are blacked out, I WILL LOSE MY COOKIE!

    GLG!

        • LukeDaDrifter

          You know and I know that blackout business is pure bullshit. The NHL spends very little time building their fan base by being fair to their fans. Just like the newspaper, movie industry, Bell Telephone, and recording industry they will wake up one day and find their fans have had enough of being screwed. At that point they will beg the government to intervene for them. There are lots of fans like yourself who choose to pay some extra to watch their team in the best format available. What the NHL would really like is to have ever game on a pay per view basis. There is some HD on the internet. Whether you have cable or satellite everything is broadcast in digital format. I watched one game through a utube link and the quality was super. Unfortunately for me I am allowed only 800 megabytes per day here. So halfway through the second period my feed was slowed down to a crawl.

  • LukeWarmWater

    So the leafs who thanks to the human sieve Enroth lost the last meeting after they had a 3 to 0 lead decide to go with Andersen tonight to play against the Devils. As pointed out he hasn’t been stellar in his last two starts and likely this means that we will go with young Bibeau as the Toronto poodle media plays up the old “Quebec kid faces Habs, excited beyond belief to help the leafs on to victory story”.

    Say how did that former Quebec goalie Bernier do against his idol Hab team when he was a kid. Right, he never won a game. So Babcock playing a little Vegas roulette here as Andersen played well in getting beat twice in Montreal by 2 to 1 scores in which the Habs got their usual home town officiating. Mike I hope that little white ball doesn’t land twice in 0 and 00 on your two gambits.

    • LukeWarmWater

      For those of us who remember when the leafs and Habs had a hated rivalry, we are tired of the Habs rubbing our noses into the ice. This is why I want to go with our best line up to beat the Habs for the first time in a too long time. Unless for the second time this year Babcock plans on going back to back with Andersen. Great schedule where the Habs are resting while the leafs get back into Toronto after midnight after playing the Devils. Reminds me of when the Warriors waited in Toronto for two days as the Raptors had to play the night before on the road and then face the oh so talented Warriors.

        • LukeWarmWater

          Brother Luke I just think that their luck could run out Saturday if we go with our top goalie who played well against the Habs in their first two games. Now if Andersen doesn’t go back to back, well then that puts a hell of a lot of pressure on young Bibeau who has played fairly well in his first two games as a leaf goalie. The Habs have some injuries so why not go with your best line up.

          • LukeDaDrifter

            I think you may see Andersen playing back to back. After Montreal, the Leafs have five days off. Then it is back to back again with the Rangers followed by Ottawa. This years schedule is one of the oddest ones I can remember.

  • LukeDaDrifter

    While Toronto is only 2 points out of a tie with Boston for 3rd in the Atlantic Division, it is still a pretty tight race. None of the teams in the division can afford to relax, if they hope to make a serious run for the playoffs.