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Preview: Maple Leafs streak into Manhattan

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Their shutout of the Islanders made it three wins in a row. Now it’s time to make it four.

NHL: New York Islanders at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs visit the New York Rangers: Game #53

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: The other centre of the universe, Madison Square Garden.

Broadcast/Streaming: TSN 4 and MSG

Opponent SBNation Site: Blueshirt Banter

We have to assume the defence situation on the Leafs will continue as it is at least for another day. The Marlies have added two defenders to keep their numbers up as they go to Rochester to play tomorrow:

And meanwhile, the Leafs are in New York and looking to roll three wins in a row into four. They played great against an injury-hampered New York Islanders team, but now they need to do it again without relying on the goaltender quite so much.

With Curtis McElhinney in net, the Leafs need to play as much as possible in front of the Rangers’ net.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Lines from yesterday’s game

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander

Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Mitch Marner

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown

Leo Komarov - Dominic Moore - Kasperi Kapanen

Defence Pairings

Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev

Andreas Borgman - Connor Carrick

Travis Dermott - Justin Holl

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney - assumed starter

New York Rangers

from Daily Faceoff

Forward Lines

Rick Nash - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich

J.T. Miller - Kevin Hayes - Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner - Peter Holland - Jesper Fast

Cody McLeod - David Desharnais - Jimmy Vesey

Defence Pairings

Ryan Mcdonagh - Nick Holden

Brady Skjei - Marc Staal

Brendan Smith - Anthony DeAngelo

Goaltenders

Henrik Lundqvist

Ondrej Pavelec


So, how about those Rangers, eh? What a lineup! In an effort to do something, although I’m not clear what exactly, the Rangers have called up Peter Holland (did you even remember the Habs had traded him?), fighter Cody McLeod and defender with a troubled past Anthony DeAngelo.

Holland, at 27, is on his fifth team, although he never suited up for the Habs. DeAngelo, at 22, is on this third team, and both of these guys passed through Arizona to get to New York.

And Jimmy Vesey, remember when everyone was in a froth over signing him? He can’t climb off of the fourth line.

The Rangers also have two players shed by the Colorado Avalanche at their depths of despair: Nick Holden and Cody McLeod. Somehow Holden is their top pairing D? He’s an interesting third pairing guy, not totally dissimilar to Connor Carrick and would slot in on the Leafs below Andreas Borgman and above Roman Polak.

Holden joins three of the Rangers’ forwards on TSN’s trade bait list. So how’s that Kevin Shattenkirk deal looking now, Rangers? He is on IR for several weeks with a nagging injury that’s been plaguing him all year.

The Rangers have one ace up their sleeve, and it’s Henrik Lundqvist. But even with him playing at his best, and the Leafs coming off a back-to-back, there is no excuse for the Leafs not to be in the game to win it from the first minute to the last.

Come on, Leafs, make it four in a row!