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Red Wings at Maple Leafs preview

Nylander to make season debut for Toronto; Bernier could start for Detroit

by Dave McCarthy / Correspondent

RED WINGS (12-12-4) at MAPLE LEAFS (20-8-0)

7 p.m. ET; SNO, FS-D, NHL.TV


The Game

William Nylander will make his season debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs when they host the Detroit Red Wings at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday.

The forward who was a restricted free agent and missed the first 27 games of the season, signed a six-year contract worth $6.9 million annually on Saturday. He was a healthy scratch in a 4-3 overtime win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. He had 61 points in each of his past two NHL seasons.

Goaltender Garret Sparks will start for the Maple Leafs, who are looking for their season-high sixth straight win and have scored four goals or more in five-straight games.

Goalie Jonathan Bernier could start for the Red Wings, who have lost two in a row and are 2-3-2 in their past seven games.


Players to watch

Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen had a hat trick in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Nielsen has six points (four goals, two assists) in his past five games.

Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice including the overtime winner against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. Matthews has 15 goals in 14 games this season and seven points (five goals, two assists) in three games since returning after missing 14 games with a shoulder injury.


They said it

"If you don't gap and you don't pressure, you're in huge trouble. If you're trying to gap and they get behind you, they've got a great stretch game. Without a shadow of a doubt, you take their stretch game away by pressuring. We're going to have to keep our pressure high." -- Red Wings coach Jeff Blashhill on the Maple Leafs offense

"It's been fun watching them play but you want to be there as well. I'm just excited to be here finally and joining the boys. I'm really excited to start on home ice and get the season going." -- Maple Leafs forward William Nylander


Red Wings projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Dylan Larkin -- Justin Abdelkader

Andreas Athanasiou -- Frans Nielsen -- Thomas Vanek

Luke Glendening -- Jacob de la Rose -- Michael Rasmussen

Martin Frk -- Wade Megan -- Christoffer Ehn

Dennis Cholowski -- Mike Green

Niklas Kronwall -- Nick Jensen

Jonathan Ericsson -- Luke Witkowski

Jonathan Bernier

Jimmy Howard

Scratched: Brian Lashoff

Injured: Anthony Mantha (hand), Evgeny Svechnikov (right knee), Trevor Daley (lower body), Danny DeKeyser (left hand)

Suspended: Tyler Bertuzzi


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Patrick Marleau -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Andreas Johnsson -- Nazem Kadri -- Kasperi Kapanen

Tyler Ennis -- Par Lindholm -- Connor Brown

Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Travis Dermott -- Igor Ozhiganov

Garret Sparks

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: Frederik Gauthier, Martin Marincin, Justin Holl

Injured: None


Status report

The Red Wings recalled defenseman Brian Lashoff from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League but he is not expected to play. … Daley is day-to-day. ... DeKesyer is expected to miss at least 4-6 week because of a hand injury.


Stat pack 

Nyquist has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past five games. … Marner has 11 assists during a five-game point streak and is one point from becoming the third Maple Leafs player in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to have 40 points in 30 or fewer games... Rielly has three assists during a three-game point streak.

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