DEVILS (14-10-3) at MAPLE LEAFS (9-13-5)
TV: MSG, TSN4
TORONTO -- Lou Lamoriello's Toronto Maple Leafs will host his former organization, the New Jersey Devils, at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday.
It is the first game between the teams since Lamoriello, 73, left the Devils and became the Maple Leafs general manager over the summer.
Lamoriello passed on the opportunity to meet with the media at the morning skate, but some of his players acknowledged it is a special game.
"To be with the same organization for close to 30 years and then to have a change, I can only imagine the kind of emotions that he is feeling today, so hopefully we can win this one for him," Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk said. "We realize this one probably has special meaning for Lou, and in that kind of a situation you pull together as a group. You want to win every game, but sometimes they have different meanings to different people so it would be nice to get the win for him."
Van Riemsdyk, a Middletown, N.J. native, grew up a fan of the New York Rangers, but said Lamoriello had a huge impact on hockey in his home state.
"My dad grew up in North Jersey, close to New York City, and he would go into the city for Rangers games," van Riemsdyk said. "He passed that on to me, but we also went to a lot of Devils games. I realize how much of an impact that had on my hockey career in terms of getting more kids involved in the sport. Hockey has grown a ton in New Jersey and a lot of that is because of the things Lou has done."
Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf also had words of support.
"We want to play hard night in and night out no matter what the circumstances are, but Lou was there (in New Jersey) a long time so we're definitely going to play hard for him," Phaneuf said.
Devils veteran forward Patrik Elias, 39, began his NHL career with the Devils in 1995-96 and said he owes a lot to Lamoriello.
"It is a little weird feeling for me, for sure," Elias said when asked about facing a Lamoriello team for the first time in his career. "I was with him for 19 years and we went through some great times and some rough times. We have a mutual respect for each other, but I am certain he would be the first to tell you it's all about business tonight.
"Lou gave me the opportunity to have a great career and a great life. I learned the right way being brought up through the minor leagues and learning the language, the lifestyle and what it means to be a Devil and to win."
Phaneuf will play his 400th game with the Maple Leafs.
"To be honest, I wasn't aware of it until the media told me about it," Phaneuf said. "It is something that feels good, but I want to play longer than this. It is special. It is a lot of games with one organization and I want to continue that."
Here are the projected lineups:
Mike Cammalleri - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak
Tyler Kennedy - Patrik Elias - Kyle Palmieri
Brian O'Neill – Jacob Josefson - Jordin Tootoo
Sergey Kalinin – Stephen Gionta – Bobby Farnham
Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
John Moore - Damon Severson
Jon Merrill - David Schlemko
Injured: Travis Zajac (upper body), Tuomo Ruutu (right foot fracture), Jiri Tlusty (upper body)
Scratched: Eric Gelinas, Stefan Matteau
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - PA Parenteau
Peter Holland - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov
Michael Grabner - Nick Spaling - Daniel Winnik
Shawn Matthias - Byron Froese - Brad Boyes
Jake Gardiner - Dion Phaneuf
Matt Hunwick - Morgan Rielly
Martin Marincin - Roman Polak
Injured: Joffrey Lupul (lower body), Stephane Robidas (groin), James Reimer (lower body)
Scratched: Frank Corrado
Status report: Merrill replaces Gelinas on the Devils defense. Elias has been moved to center from left wing. Tlusty has missed eight games, but is on the road trip and took part in the morning skate. Zajac has missed two games and did not make the trip. … Lupul, who is on injured reserve, took part in the morning skate, but left the ice earlier than the rest of the Maple Leafs.
Who's hot: Cammalleri has four goals and seven points in his past three games. Palmieri has scored four goals in his past five games. Stempniak has points in New Jersey's past three games. … Kadri scored two goals against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. Sparks has won two of his three NHL starts.