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Devils at Maple Leafs preview

Most recent No. 1 NHL Draft picks Hischier, Matthews go head-to-head for first time

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

DEVILS (2-0-0) at MAPLE LEAFS (3-0-0)

7:30 p.m. ET; SN, MSG, NHL.TV

 

The Game

Centers Auston Matthews and Nico Hischier, selected No. 1 in the 2016 and 2017 NHL Draft, respectively, will go head-to-head for the first time when the Toronto Maple Leafs play the New Jersey Devils at Air Canada Centre.

Matthews leads the Maple Leafs with five points (two goals, three assists) in three games. Hischier has one assist in two games.

The Maple Leafs have opened with three consecutive victories for the first time since 2013-14, and have not won four straight games to begin a season since 2010-11. Toronto has scored 19 goals, the second-most in its history after three games behind the 27 goals scored by the Toronto Arenas in 1917-18.

The Devils are looking for their first 3-0-0 start since 2014-15.

 

Players to watch

Devils forward Jesper Bratt, 19, is the first player in franchise history to have five points (three goals, two assists) through the first two games of his NHL career.

Matthews led the Maple Leafs with six shots on goal and scored in overtime to complete a three-goal comeback in a 4-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.

 

They said it

"It's been refreshing. The way they see the game has been what's impressed me, their smarts all over the ice. They just go out and play, they're just a bunch of kids. It's like the Leafs last year, they'd just go out and make plays, confident with the puck all over the ice. It pushes everybody else in the room to be better." -- Devils forward Adam Henrique on the young players

 

"This team kind of reminds me of us last year, they've got a lot of new players with a lot of speed. They've got a very good forward group as well as defensemen and their goaltender is very good. We can't take this team lightly, they haven't lost a game yet. They're going to come in here, be ready to play and we'll have to make sure we are as well." -- Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner

 

Devils projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Pavel Zacha -- Kyle Palmieri

Marcus Johansson -- Nico Hischier -- Jesper Bratt

Brian Gibbons -- Adam Henrique -- Jimmy Hayes

Miles Wood -- Blake Coleman -- Stefan Noesen

Andy Greene -- Damon Severson

John Moore -- Will Butcher

Mirco Mueller -- Steven Santini

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Dalton Prout, Ben Lovejoy

Injured: Travis Zajac (pectoral muscle), Drew Stafford (lower body)

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Patrick Marleau -- Nazem Kadri -- Leo Komarov

Matt Martin -- Dominic Moore -- Connor Brown

Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Andreas Borgman -- Calle Rosen

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Eric Fehr, Josh Leivo

Injured: Connor Carrick (upper body)

 

Status report

Palmieri returns after missing the game Monday at the Buffalo Sabres with a lower-body injury. … Stafford took part in the morning skate and Devils coach John Hynes expects him to return by the end of the week. … Carrick will miss his second straight game.

 

Stat pack

The Devils and Maple Leafs share the NHL's best power play (37.5 percent). Toronto is 6-for-16 and New Jersey is 3-for-8.

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