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The Official Site of the Toronto Maple Leafs

Home-And-Home Series Begins Tonight

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs



RED WINGS (1-1-1) at MAPLE LEAFS (2-2-0)

TV/RADIO: FS-D, SNO, TSN Radio 1050

Season series: The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs breathed new life into an old rivalry last season. The Red Wings, who moved from the Western Conference into the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference, went 3-0-1 against their new division rivals in four head-to-head games. Toronto's one win, however, was a 3-2 shootout victory Jan. 1 at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Red Wings team scope: Detroit's quest for more offensive punch didn't get any resolutions Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena, when the Boston Bruins beat them 3-2 in a shootout. Through their first three games the Red Wings have been relying heavily on defense and goaltending, averaging 2.0 goals per game. The good news is forward Gustav Nyquist keeps providing offense in the absence of injured two-way center Pavel Datsyuk (shoulder). He's doing it despite coach Mike Babcock flip-flopping him and forward Justin Abdelkader between the top line and third line. Nyquist was bumped to the third unit against Boston mid-game, but scored a goal on a power play to give him a goal in all three of Detroit's games. Including the 2013-14 regular season, Nyquist has 26 goals in his past 37 regular-season games.

Maple Leafs team scope: Toronto hasn't had as much trouble scoring goals as Detroit and the top line is the biggest reason. After a combined seven points in a 6-3 victory Sunday at the New York Rangers, the line of James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel contributed two goals and five points in the Maple Leafs' 3-2 overtime win Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche at Air Canada Centre. That included goals by van Riemsdyk and Kessel, who scored the in overtime. Kessel is starting to heat up, which always is good for Toronto. He has two goals and five points in the past two games, both wins. A possible hurdle for the Maple Leafs offensively cropped up Thursday in practice. Forward Joffrey Lupul tested a lower-body injury sustained against the Avalanche, but left the ice unable to participate. He is questionable to play against the Red Wings.

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