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Toronto Maple Leafs game preview: Lose this one for Taylor

The Leafs are in New Jersey for the final road game of the regular season, and Jersey needs these two points.

Washington Capitals v New Jersey Devils Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

For the Toronto Maple Leafs, today is just another game. One more road trip before the season is over. For the New Jersey Devils however, there are huge consequences to this game. They’re in the first wild card slot right now but there are five different spots they could end up in:

They could take the Pittsburgh Penguins spot at 2nd in the Metro Division (one point behind)

They could take the Columbus Blue Jackets spot at 3rd in the Metro Division (one point behind)

They could fall to the second wild card spot (occupied by the Philadelphia Flyers, one point lead by the Devils)

Or, finally, they could lose their final two games and the Florida Panthers could win their final three and the Devils could be out of the playoffs. This is the most unlikely scenario as the Panthers are six point behind the Devils.

Big game for New Jersey tonight. Can the Maple Leafs play spoilers?

Toronto Maple Leafs at New Jersey Devils
7:00PM - Prudential Center
Watch: NHL Live, TSN4, TSN GO
Listen: Sportsnet590 / TSN1050
SBN: All About the Jersey

It’s been said so much lately that it’s kinda sounding like we don’t appreciate how well the Maple Leafs have done, and we have, but the only consequences on the line are New Jersey’s and you know what? I kind of want the Leafs to lose this game and give Jersey the two points.

Now, hear me out. Most voters for the Hart trophy seems to think that to win the award the players team needs to make the playoffs. Taylor Hall winning the Hart Trophy would be funny in a mocking the Oilers way. I want this to happen, so I need New Jersey to make the playoffs. The Maple Leafs won’t miss out on anything if they lose this game. They’ll stay the third seed in the Atlantic, there will be no effect on the Bruins or Lightning, so let’s just give this one to Taylor. He’s earned it.

Toronto Maple Leafs lines

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Mitch Marner
James van Riesmdyk - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Leo Komarov - Tomas Plekanec - Kasperi Kapanen

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Connor Carrick - Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney

There’s no morning skate today, so best guess at lines. If anything comes out we’ll update.

New Jersey Devils lines

Taylor Hall - Nico Hischier - Kyle Palmieri
Michael Grabner - Pavel Zacha - Patrick Maroon
Blake Coleman - Travis Zajac - Stefan Nosen
Miles Wood - Brian Boyle - Brian Gibbons

Andy Greene - Sami Vatanen
John Moore - Mirco Mueller
Will Butcher - Ben Lovejoy

Keith Kincaid
Corey Schneider

No Schneider starting tonight, come on now New Jersey, you need these points.

Numbers Preview

Maple Leafs Team Devils
Maple Leafs Team Devils
265GF - 226GA - +29 Goal Differential 238GF - 234GA - +4
24.4% - 2nd overall Power Play 21.7 - 10th overall
81.3% - 12th overall Penalty Kill 81.9% - 7th overall
James van Riemsdyk - 36 Most Goals Taylor Hall - 39
Mitch Marner - 47 Most Assists Taylor Hall - 54
Mitch Marner - 69 Most Points Taylor Hall - 93
Matt Martin - 50 Most PM Miles Wood - 84
Jake Gardiner - 22:33/G TOI Leader Sami Vatanen - 22:42
Frederik Andersen - .917sv% Starting Goalie Keith Kincaid - .911sv%

Does it feel weird that I want the Maple Leafs to lose?

This season, yes, but it was only 2 years ago we were doing that regularly.

For one night only: Go Devils Go!