The New Jersey Devils head back out on the road Wednesday, but not before a final practice session ahead of visiting Toronto, Winnipeg and Minnesota.
At practice on Wednesday, coach John Hynes switched up his top two lines. Travis Zajac slotted down to center the second line with Jesper Bratt and Drew Stafford on his wings, while Nico Hischier was back up on the top line with Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri.
As for Zajac's availability in Toronto, Hynes said he will check in with the forward Thursday morning to see how he is feeling. If all goes well there is a strong possibility that Zajac makes his season debut against the Maple Leafs.
"He went through practice again today and looked good," Hynes said. "The final check will be checking with him in the morning, and if all is good we expect him to play."
It will be the second such meeting between Toronto and New Jersey this season. The Devils beat the Leafs 6-3 back on Oct. 11, but gave up 50-plus shots in the process. Cory Schneider doesn't put too much thought into that game, both teams having developed since the beginning of the season.
"I think they have really high expectations of themselves," Schneider said. "For us to go in their building again, play them tough and try and come away with some points will be good for our group to take the next step and our evolution through the season."
Hynes agreed that the Leafs bring a challenge for the Devils.
"They present a lot of challenges," Hynes said. "They're a quick team. They're deep and highly, highly skilled. We know that coming in, for us we want to be able to play at a high pace with a strong compete level. There's some things we've talked about defensively that we want to do better. We like our offense and our skill too."
Speaking of skill, Hynes left room in the 40-minute practice for some shootout work. At the end of practice, he jokingly asked which player hasn't been called upon yet that thinks they should be. Dalton Prout and John Moore both stepped up.
"There's always a couple of guys out there who think they should be the guy," said Hynes. "So, we gave them a chance today. They both had good moves, but they didn't score. So obviously we made the right choice so far."
Power play units:
Unit #1: Butcher, Hall, Palmieri, Henrique, Boyle
Unit #2: Severson, Hischier, Bratt, Stafford, Wood