Records: Maple Leafs (2-2-0), Rangers (1-3-0)
NYR Leading Scorer: Maria Gaborik (3-1-4)
TOR Leading Scorer: Nazem Kadri (2-3-5)
NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (4 GS, 3.47 GAA, .895 SV%)
TOR Goaltender: James Reimer (1 GS, 2.43 GAA, .921 SV%)
Rangers Lines (Unconfirmed):
Rick Nash-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
Taylor Pyatt-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin-Brian Boyle-Benn Ferreiro
Mike Rupp-Jeff Halpern-Arron Asham
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Michael Del Zotto
Steve Eminger-Anton Stralman
Probable Scratches/Injuries: Mike Sauer (concussion), Chris Kreider (ankle), Matt Gilroy (healthy), Stu Bickel (healthy)
Preview: The Leafs have been better than expected to start this season. In the offseason, they traded from a position of strength (defense – Luke Schenn) to address a position of need (forward – James van Riemsdyk). They were also heavily rumored to be in the mix for Roberto Luongo, but those talks have at least stalled for now.
The Leafs are a strong skating 2-1-2 forechecking team, similar to the Rangers. However, once they get a late lead, they will drop guys back in the neutral zone and trap. In the defensive zone, the Leafs generally play a collapsing box, which is also used by the Rangers and leaves the point men open for opportunities. That’s something the Flyers exploited the Rangers for on Thursday, and something the Rangers should look to do against the Leafs tonight.
The Leafs are not thought of as a playoff team yet, but the surprising play of Nazem Kadri has made people wonder if, in that weak division, they could sneak in as a bottom seed. It’s possible, especially if they make a serious play for Luongo. Also helping their case has been the play of defenseman Mike Kostka, who has been solid in over 25 minutes of ice time per game.
Crazy Thought: A goal for Hagelin. He needs one
Opposition Blog: Down Goes Brown