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Rangers at Maple Leafs preview

Toronto can tighten Atlantic Division race; New York tries to avoid sixth straight loss

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

RANGERS (28-32-13) at MAPLE LEAFS (44-25-5)

7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN1, SNO, MSG, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to close ground on the Boston Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division when they host the New York Rangers at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday. 
 

The Maple Leafs, who trail the Bruins by six points with eight regular-season games remaining, are 2-4-0 in their past six after going 6-1-1 in their previous eight. Goalie Frederik Andersen will start for Toronto.

The Bruins play at the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

The Rangers will try to avoid a sixth straight loss, which would mark their longest losing streak this season. Goalie Alexandar Georgiev, who made 55 saves against Toronto in a 4-1 win on Feb. 10, will start for New York, 0-4-1 in its past five games and 1-6-5 in its past 12.

 

Players to watch

Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich has three points (two goals, one assist) in his past four games.

Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past six games.

 

They said it 

"If you feel their offense, it's going to be a long night. That's going to be key, managing the puck, in particular against a team with this skill set. If you're going to turn it over, you have to make them go 200, 190 feet. You can't let them go 90, 100 feet because that's when you're going to get burnt." -- Rangers coach David Quinn

"It's the NHL so they're good, they've got good players, good young guys and they've got good goaltending. Georgiev gave us a lot of trouble last time so we have to do a much better job tonight of trying to take away his eyes. He made some pretty unbelievable saves last time." -- Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews 

 

Rangers projected lineup

Jimmy Vesey -- Mika Zibanejad -- Ryan Strome

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Brett Howden -- Pavel Buchnevich

Jesper Fast -- Lias Andersson -- Brendan Lemieux

Brendan Smith -- Filip Chytil -- Vinni Lettieri

Marc Staal -- Tony DeAngelo

Brady Skjei -- Neal Pionk

John Gilmour -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Alexandar Georgiev

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratched: Fredrik Claesson, Connor Brickley, Boo Nieves

Injured: Libor Hajek (shoulder), Chris Kreider (lower body)

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup 

Andreas Johnsson -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Zach Hyman -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Patrick Marleau -- Nazem Kadri -- Kasperi Kapanen

Trevor Moore -- Frederik Gauthier -- Connor Brown

Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Muzzin -- Nikita Zaitsev

Justin Holl -- Igor Ozhiganov

Frederik Andersen

Garret Sparks

Scratched: Tyler Ennis, Nic Petan

Injured: Jake Gardiner (back), Travis Dermott (shoulder), Martin Marincin (illness)

 

Status report 

Marincin took part in the optional morning skate but is expected to miss his third straight game.

 

Stat pack 

Zibanejad has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past 10 games after having five points (one goal, four assists) in a three-game point streak. … Nylander has six assists in his past five games. … Tavares has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in his past 10 games.

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