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Load management continues as Maple Leafs close out home and home against Devils

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Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
2 months ago
We’re into the last eight nights of the NHL regular season. And, for the Toronto Maple Leafs, they have four games remaining – two at home and two on the road – with a rematch against the New Jersey Devils tonight at Scotiabank Arena, as these teams close out the home and home series.
In their last meeting on Tuesday night, the Maple Leafs went with some load management with their ticket to the 2024 NHL playoffs already punched. Ilya Lyubushkin, Ryan Reaves, and Connor Dewar took a seat for Conor Timmins, Noah Gregor, and Nick Robertson. For tonight’s contest, Sheldon Keefe has elected to give some guys some more rest.
According to Mark Masters, Sheldon Keefe confirmed earlier this morning that Conor Timmins, Jake McCabe, and Noah Gregor will come out of the lineup tonight, and Joel Edmundson, who was dealing with a minor injury, Ilya Lyubushkin, and Connor Dewar will slot back into the lineup tonight at home.
As mentioned above, there are eight days left on the regular season schedule, with Toronto having four games remaining: tonight, Saturday at home against Detroit, next Tuesday in Florida, and next Wednesday in Tampa Bay. If you have extra bodies and depth, why not use it to rest some guys with the playoffs at the end of next week?
With all of the lineup changes over the past two games, the Maple Leafs are still fighting for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. With their win Tuesday night, along with Florida’s, the Maple Leafs remain just three points back of the Panthers with one game in hand for the second spot in the Atlantic division, with a meeting between these two rivals early next week.
First place is still mathematically possible for Toronto, but it’s an extremely long shot. Boston will have to lose out on their remaining three games, Florida will have to lose one of their final three games, and Toronto will have to win out their final four games. It’s not impossible, but it sure is incredibly doubtful.

Pregame details:

Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup:

Tyler Bertuzzi – Auston Matthews – Max Domi
Bobby McMann – John Tavares – Mitch Marner
Nick Robertson – Pontus Holmberg – William Nylander
Matthew Knies – David Kampf – Connor Dewar
Morgan Rielly – Ilya Lyubushkin
Simon Benoit – Joel Edmundson
Mark Giordano – T.J. Brodie
One lineup note: With three new bodies coming into the lineup, the lines and pairings will likely look like this. After netting his 66th goal of the season – 17th career goal in 16 career games against the Devils – Auston Matthews will continue his pursuit of 70 goals in front of the home crowd tonight alongside Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi, and maybe the power play if they decide to score a goal.

New Jersey Devils’ lineup:

Graeme Clarke – Nico Hischier – Jesper Bratt
Timo Meier – Erik Haula – Dawson Mercer
Ondrej Palat -Shane Bowers – Alexander Holtz
Kurtis MacDermid – Chris Tierney – Nolan Foote
Luke Hughes – John Marino
Kevin Bahl – Brendan Smith
Jonas Siegenthaler – Simon Nemec

Projected goalies:

Ilya Samsonov (TOR) vs Jake Allen (NJ)
In their last meeting less than 48 hours ago, Joseph Woll got the starting nod, with Martin Jones serving as his backup while Ilya Samsonov remained in Toronto with a full day off. Tonight, Samsonov appears to be the starter against the Devils for the Maple Leafs’ second-last game at home during the regular season.

Broadcast:

Sportsnet, 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT
(Stats from hockey-reference.com)
(Projected lineups from dailyfaceoff.com)

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