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At the Rink blog

Maple Leafs won't make changes if St. Louis plays

Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 1:46 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Maple Leafs won't make changes if St. Louis plays

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers are hoping to have Martin St. Louis in their lineup Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden. But the Maple Leafs won't be making any tweaks in their game plan, regardless of whether or not St. Louis makes it in time to play.

St. Louis, the defending Art Ross Trophy winner, was acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline for Ryan Callahan and two draft picks.

"You have two players that are the faces of their franchise exchanging places. Those are big deals, but we can only worry about what we have to do," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said after the morning skate. "We always respect the opposition. We know the Rangers are going to play an aggressive forechecking style of hockey. They're going to come after us. It doesn't matter if Marty St. Louis is there or not. We've got to be ready to play our game and manage the puck properly."

Callahan participated in New York's morning skate but was one of the first players to leave the ice, and the Rangers' media availability was completed before the trade was finalized. If St. Louis, an Olympic gold-medalist and six-time All-Star, does make it to the Garden in time to play, he'll have the attention of the Maple Leafs, who have gone 0-1-2 since the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"St. Louis is a high-caliber player. He's one of the most gifted guys in the League. Anytime you can add a piece like that it's going to help your lineup," Toronto defenseman Cody Franson said. "They aren't going to change the way they play. Having him is going to help in certain areas. As far as the way they play, I think they'll mostly end up doing the same stuff."

The Maple Leafs will look slightly different. Forwards Carter Ashton and Peter Holland were recalled from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. Forward Frazer McLaren was assigned to the Marlies after clearing waivers.

"Young players take different paths, some take different amounts of time to get comfortable at the NHL level," Carlyle said. "We knew that these players would be coming back to us. We are just looking for them to take the next step. They're big guys, they can play the game at a high level. They're NHL-quality players."

Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf was given a maintenance day. Center Dave Bolland met with a specialist in North Carolina on Tuesday and remains out with a lacerated tendon he sustained on Nov. 2.

Goalie Jonathan Bernier will start in net for the Maple Leafs against Henrik Lundqvist, who expressed a desire to pick up his game after consecutive losses to the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins.

"I look at the last two games. Do I think I played bad? No. But did I come up with the big saves? I don't think so," Lundqvist said. "It was some crucial times in both games that I needed to come up with some saves. I didn't."

Here are the projected lineups:

MAPLE LEAFS

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

David Clarkson - Nazem Kadri - Joffrey Lupul

Nikolai Kulemin - Jay McClement - Mason Raymond

Peter Holland - Carter Ashton

Dion Phaneuf - Carl Gunnarsson

Cody Franson - Jake Gardiner

Tim Gleason - Morgan Rielly

Paul Ranger

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Scratched: Trevor Smith, Troy Bodie

Injured: Colton Orr (undisclosed), Dave Bolland (lacerated tendon)

RANGERS

Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Chris Kreider

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Martin St. Louis

Benoit Pouliot - Derick Brassard - J.T. Miller

Dominic Moore - Brian Boyle - Derek Dorsett

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

John Moore - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Justin Falk, Daniel Carcillo

Injured: Mats Zuccarello (hand)

Quote of the Day

What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp