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Game Journal: Game 18 - Maple Leafs vs. Rangers

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs

6:05 PM: Leafs TV also caught up with P-A Parenteau and Matt Hunwick before tonight's game.

6:00 PM: Leafs head coach Mike Babcock spoke to the media before Sunday's game in New York. Here's what he had to say...

Leafs TV

On tonight's starting goaltender:

What did you like from last night's game that you want to roll into this one?
We liked that we won, we liked our first two periods, we didn't like our third very much. Even the second when we got ahead 2-0 we got a little silly with the puck, which is maybe fine for other teams but we're not skilled enough to play like that. I thought we really got on our heels, we took some penalties and then really got on our heels. We still created tons of offence in the third but we gave up way too much. I'm not interested in trading chances so we'll have to be way tighter tonight.

Is there a trend with the shots going up in the last week?
I don't think so. I think if you look at the Dallas games and then you look at last game, those are the three with me that jump out. Dallas is not a bad team. Obviously last night I thought we got carried away and took the penalties. When we go through the chances, we still outchanced the other team but we gave up way too many. We like to keep it 12 and under and we got to 14 last night. That was too many. Just the way we played in the third period, got on our heels and didn't get after them isn't the way we want to play.

What do you see from Morgan Rielly now and what is he developing into?
He's a real player. Obviously an unbelievable skater, great determination, great willingness to learn, got a lot of confidence about him. I'm not very concerned about the offensive side at all right now, we're just trying to get him to play without the puck. He's getting better at that and I think he's relishing the opportunity to play against the best players. If you go through who we've played of late, we've played a lot of the best players. He'll get another opportunity here tonight, him and Hunwick have been very good for us and he continues to get better. We throw him on the power play every once and a while but we're trying to get his focus to be on the penalty kill. Even though he's leading us in scoring, that isn't the long term plan here... I think he'll have more [offence] if he learns to play without it so that's our plan is to teach him that. Like I said, he's getting very little power play time and he's still leading us in scoring so things are going good for him that.

What do need to do to shut down New York's top line?

We need to play well without the puck and take care of the puck when we don't have it. We played a real tight game in here last time, we'd like to do that same -- if it's racing up and down you know it's not going very good for us.

Do you need to get Bernier playing and get his confidence going?
I did that early and Reimer decided he wanted the job so he took the job. Berns gets an opportunity here today. I might have even gone with Reims last night but we gave up too much in the third period. I didn't think that was fair. Bernier has an opportunity, he's a good NHL goalie, he's been a good NHL goalie, no one can give you confidence. You've got to earn your way back. He's been working real hard and he's determined to do that so that's good for us. He's in a position now where he gets an opportunity here today and we need his help.

2:30 PM: Dan O'Halloran and Francis Charron are the officials for tonight's game while Bryan Pancich and Shandor Alphonso will handle the linesman duties. Those looking to tune in can watch on Sportsnet, listen on TSN 1050 and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

In the meantime, Danielle Emanuele and Joe Bowen check in from Manhattan where the Leafs get set to take on the Rangers.

2:15 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups based on Saturday's games for the Leafs and Rangers.

Toronto Maple Leafs

21 van Riemsdyk - 43 Kadri - 47 Komarov
23 Matthias - 42 Bozak - 15 Parenteau
26 Winnik - 16 Spaling - 19 Lupul
24 Holland - 56 Froese - 40 Grabner

51 Gardiner - 3 Phaneuf
2 Hunwick - 44 Rielly
36 Harrington - 46 Polak

34 Reimer
45 Bernier

New York Rangers
61 Nash - 16 Brassard - 36 Zuccarello
20 Kreider - 21 Stepan - 10 Miller
24 Lindberg - 13 Hayes - 25 Stalberg
28 Moore - 26 Stoll - 19 Fast

27 McDonagh - 5 Girardi
18 Staal - 22 Boyle
93 Yandle - 8 Klein

32 Raanta
30 Lundqvist

2:00 PM: The Toronto Maple Leafs will wrap up another back-to-back tonight at Madison Square Garden when they visit the New York Rangers.

The Leafs won their third consecutive game on Saturday night, a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. James van Riemsdyk, P-A Parenteau, Shawn Matthias and Joffrey Lupul scored goals for the Leafs while James Reimer made 43 saves to earn the win. The Leafs have not confirmed a starter for tonight's game, though Reimer started both legs of the team's last back-to-back.

The Rangers are the hottest team in the NHL, currently riding an eight game win stream. On Saturday the Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators by a 2-1 score in the shootout. Chris Kreider scored the lone regulation goal for the Rangers on the power play while Dan Boyle scored the shootout winner. Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves to earn the victory. Antti Raanta is expected to get the start against the Leafs tonight.

Stay tuned for projected lineups, comments from Coach Babcock and the Leafs and more.

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