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Match Preview: Maple Leafs vs. Wild

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs


TEAM UPDATES

The Leafs will honour Eric Brewer prior to puck drop on Monday after he played his 1000th NHL game in Ottawa on Saturday night. Brewer's family will be taking part in the pre-game ceremony to commemorate the achievement reserved for a select group of NHLers. He will be presented with a silver stick prior to the game, as is custom for players who hit the milestone.

"I should probably use it the way I've been handling the puck," joked Brewer. "We're just excited. It's a pretty special night and I'm super excited. The Leafs have been amazing about it, especially having been here so short. They've done a million things for us and we couldn't thank them enough."

Jonathan Bernier is expected to get the nod in goal for the Leafs after he relieved James Reimer in Ottawa. Bernier is 3-2-3 with a 1.34 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage in his career against Minnesota. The rest of the Leafs lineup is expected to remain the same as Saturday night.

Opposing Bernier in goal will be Devan Dubnyk, who has started every game for the Wild since his arrival in Minnesota. Dubnyk is 22-6-1 with a 1.76 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage.

RECENT RESULTS

The Leafs are coming off of a 5-3 loss to the Ottawa Seantors, which brings their record to 2-7-1 in their last 10 games.

Toronto is 19-15-1 at home this season.

The Wild have surged back into the playoff picture and are coming off a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. They are 7-3-0 in their last 10.

Minnesota is 20-14-2 on the road this season.

LAST MEETING

The Leafs and Wild kicked off their 2015 at Xcel Energy Center with the Wild taking a closely contested game by a 3-1 score. Cody Franson scored the lone goal for the Leafs as Darcy Kuemper made 34 saves for the Wild to earn the win. Jared Spurgeon recorded the winning goal for Minnesota.

Minnesota took the lone matchup between the two clubs this season.

ONE TO WATCH

Nino Niederreiter

Niederreiter, the fifth overall pick in the 2010 Draft, has shown progression in his second full season with the Wild. He has surpassed the 20-goal plateau for the first time as an NHL player and has received increased opportunity to play in special teams situations.

Like most young players, consistency remains a point of emphasis for Niederreiter's growth going forward, but he projects well as a big, top-six forward for a long time. He possesses a good shot, likes to use it and frequently engages opponents physically.

The Leafs will likely key in on Minnesota's Parise-Granlund-Pominville trio, but keeping Niederreiter and his linemates off the scoresheet will be just as much of a priority.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Here's how the Leafs and Wild are expected to line up tonight...

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

21 van Riemsdyk - 42 Bozak - 81 Kessel

19 Lupul - 23 Smith - 20 Booth

22 Sill - 47 Komarov - 18 Panik

15 Lindstrom - 53 Carrick - 67 Kozun

Defence

51 Gardiner - 3 Phaneuf

44 Rielly - 2 Brewer

33 Erixon - 57 MacWilliam

Goaltenders

45 Bernier

34 Reimer

Minnesota Wild

Forwards

11 Parise - 64 Granlund - 29 Pominville

22 Niederreiter - 9 Koivu - 44 Stewart

26 Vanek - 3 Coyle - 14 Fontaine

23 Bergenheim - 56 Haula - 21 Brodziak

Defence

20 Suter - 25 Brodin

6 Scandella - 46 Spurgeon

33 Leopold - 55 Dumba

Goaltenders

40 Dubnyk

35 Kuemper

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