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Game Journal: Game 82 - Maple Leafs vs. Devils

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs



3:50 PM:
Tonight's officials will be Ghislain Hebert and Frederick L'Ecuyer. Scott Cherrey and Ryan Gibbons will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in to tonight's game can watch on Hockey Night in Canada, listen on Sportsnet 590 The FAN and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

Paul Hendrick and Joe Bowen preview tonight's game below.




3:45 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Devils.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

23 Laich - 42 Bozak - 15 Parenteau

38 Greening - 39 Nylander - 46 Lindberg

47 Komarov - 54 Gauthier - 40 Grabner

53 Carrick - 56 Froese - 28 Boyes

Defence

52 Marincin - 44 Rielly

51 Gardiner - 20 Corrado

48 Campbell - 29 Brennan

Goaltenders

31 Sparks

45 Bernier

New Jersey Devils

Forwards

26 Elias - 37 Zacha - 25 Smith-Pelly

51 Kalinin - 19 Zajac - 21 Palmieri

44 Wood - 14 Henrique - 48 Kennedy

16 Josefson - 11 Gionta - 15 Ruutu

Defence

6 Greene - 5 Larsson

8 Schlemko - 38 Santini

2 Moore - 28 Severson

Goaltenders

35 Schneider

1 Kinkaid



3:30 PM:
Morgan Rielly spoke to media on Saturday. Here's what he had to say.

Leafs TV

On the season coming to a close:

It feels like it went by pretty quick. I think that's a common theme, whenever you're down the home stretch you look back on things and it feels like it went by pretty quick.

Do you think the optimism around the end of the season is better than years past?

The result is the same and I think that's the most important thing. The attitude around the team I think is maybe more positive, I think we have some things to go on, I think we made some strides forward and we've accomplished some things we can be proud of. We've had some young guys come up and done a very good job and I think we can take that and move forward. At the end of the day the result is the same and we have a lot of work to do.

How do you feel about playing all 82 games?

It's not something I really think about.

What have your impressions been of dealing with Lou Lamoriello?

Lou has been very impressive. He didn't have anything to prove coming into Toronto, I think that he has a great reputation as is but when we walk into practice he's the first one there and the last one to leave. He's on every road trip. I think he takes a lot of pride in what he does and I think players really respect that. Playing for him has been a new experience that's gone very well. I think he's been very impressive and there was never any doubt with that, but I think after playing for him you can really get a true appreciation for it.

What have you liked about the club's penalty kill the last three games?

It's been good. I think we've been aggressive, we're skating well, we're pressuring the puck, we're blocking shots. We've got to continue to do that here tonight and try to end on a good note.

What did you guys do last night to mark the end of the season as a team?

Nothing.

What does it say about Leo that he fought to get back into the lineup for one more game?

He really wants to play tonight, there's no question about it. He's been talking about it for a while. I think he's looking forward to coming out and playing. He's been working hard and it speaks to his character... He's been great. He's having a good year. I think he's got 19 goals, he's looking for 20 tonight so maybe that has something to do with it. He's had a good season, played in the All-Star Game, was very deserving of that. He's been good.



3:15 PM:
Leo Komarov returns to the Leafs lineup in New Jersey on Saturday night. Here's what he had to say ahead of the game.

Leafs TV

Are you excited to get back in?

Yeah, it's nice. I've been out for a while now so it feels good to be back with the boys.

Why is it important for you to come back?

I've been pushing for a while here and the last week I've been feeling really good. I want to play hockey and I've still got a chance to play one more game here. I'm excited about it.

Is this a tuneup for the World Championships?

I don't know about that, let's talk about that after the season and we'll see.

On potentially hitting 20 goals:

Yeah, I'm not thinking about that too much. It's, like I've always said, the goals don't really mean anything for me. The most [important] thing is trying to win the game and if we do that it's going to be the best thing.

What have you seen from Gauthier?

He's a big guy and really skillful. He's a good two-way player so it's going to be nice.

Has this been a frustrating injury to come back from?

It's not really, it's just taking a little bit too long from what we expected to. All the injuries you have, it's not good at all. You're trying to play a whole season, 82 games, but sometimes when you play hard the injuries are going to come.

Are you happy with what you were able to accomplish this season personally?

I can't be happy. You always want to win games and we didn't really do that this year. We've got some good days and some bad days but we're going to come out stronger next year.



3:00 PM:
Here's what Mike Babcock had to say ahead of Saturday's game.

Leafs TV

On the season wrapping up:

It goes by fast every year. You're in exhibition and then the next thing you know it's done and you're getting ready for the playoffs. The biggest difference is obviously not preparing for the playoffs, which is unfortunate and disappointing and we've got to fix that.

Is there a message or thought you want to leave with these guys heading into the offseason?

Not in the final game but into the offseason obviously we have a lot of work to do this summer. We need some guys to have really National Hockey League summers as far as training and turning themselves into men. Then obviously a ton of our guys are going right to the Marlies. There's free agents that we won't be able to give any information to until after we've had the summer but that's the same and consistent across the League and most of those guys are used to that anyway.

Are you happy or satisfied with the foundation you've laid here?

I'm really ecstatic about how we're set up to move ahead and so I really like that. Now, obviously we have lots of work to do. I think the guys have an understand of how we're going to play. Obviously we need to add some skill to the mix but how we're going to play and what we're going to do moving forward, they understand what's expected and the professionalism you need to have success. And yet, until you do it every day and until you do it in the playoffs, you're not where you want to be.

How important is a good Marlies run for the young players?

I think it's real important. We were fortunate when I was [in Detroit], we had a real good coach in Jeff Blashill and he did a real nice job and we developed players. That's critical. Our coach in the minors has done a real nice job this year. He has been -- obviously they have a ton of talent and they've done lots of good things with that talent, though. So that's positive. They've found a way, even when we took their players, they've found a way to win. The big test is coming for them. They've clinched an American League regular season title, which is real positive and a real feather in their cap. Now the real season starts for them and that should be fun.

What has stood out about working with Lou Lamoriello?

A good, good, good man, loves hockey, loves people. Fun to be around. Good knowledge -- he knows when it's supposed to be fun and when it's supposed to be business. He has a real good feel for people, is a confidence builder and not scared of hard decisions. A lot of fun to work with. I've been real fortunate -- obviously Bryan Murray, Ken Holland now Lou. Real special men to work with and have as your friend.

Do you know if the Marlies players go down to play tomorrow?

I have no idea.

On Komarov:

He wants to go to the World Championship, that sets him up to get back in here tonight. I don't know how much he's going to play but we'll get him out there anyway. He wants to go and represent his country and we want him to.

Are you a fan of the World Championships for players to keep going?

I'm not a fan of having players at it because it means you're not in the playoffs. I'm a fan of the World Championships and the other teams going there. This year because we don't get to play it's way better than going home.

2:30 PM: The Maple Leafs wrap up their 2015-16 season in New Jersey on Saturday night when they take on the Devils.

The Leafs are coming off of a 4-3 OT win in Philadelphia on Thursday night. The Leafs got goals from William Nylander, Colin Greening, Michael Grabner and Jake Gardiner in the win, while Jonathan Bernier made 41 stops in the win. Garret Sparks will start on Saturday night.

The Devils last played on Thursday and dropped a 4-2 score to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sergey Kalinin scored a pair for the Devils, while Keith Kinkaid made 18 saves in the loss. Corey Schneider will start on Saturday night.

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

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