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Rangers at Maple Leafs preview

New York has won two of three; Muzzin out for Toronto

by Dave McCarthy / Independent Correspondent

RANGERS (18-15-4) at MAPLE LEAFS (21-14-4)



The Game

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without defenseman Jake Muzzin when they try for their season-high seventh straight win against the New York Rangers at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.

Muzzin is sidelined with a broken foot. Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said Muzzin blocked a shot against the New Jersey Devils on Friday and played through the discomfort in Toronto's 5-4 overtime win. 

Frederik Andersen will start for the Maple Leafs, who have won eight of their past nine games, outscoring opponents 32-18 during that stretch. Michael Hutchinson was in goal for the win against New Jersey.

Alexandar Georgiev could start for the Rangers, who have won two of their past three games but are 5-6-1 in their past 12. Georgiev backed up Henrik Lundqvist in a 5-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.


Players to watch

Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in his past seven games, including two goals and one assist against the Hurricanes on Friday.

Maple Leafs captain John Tavares has seven points (two goals, five assists) during a three-game point streak including one goal and two assists against the Devils on Friday.


They said it

"I thought Mika was outstanding, Kreider continues to play really well and [Pavel] Buchnevich had a better night playing on that line so we've had some big performances by our top players." -- Rangers coach David Quinn

"Not a lot to like about our game [last night], obviously, but you know, it's December 27 here and we got two points on the road. So, we'll take it and recognize we've got to get a lot better [tonight]." -- Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe


Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

Artemi Panarin -- Ryan Strome -- Jesper Fast

Brett Howden -- Filip Chytil -- Kaapo Kakko

Brendan Smith -- Greg McKegg -- Micheal Haley

Brady Skjei -- Jacob Trouba

Marc Staal -- Tony DeAngelo

Ryan Lindgren -- Adam Fox

Alexandar Georgiev

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratched: Steven Fogarty

Injured: Libor Hajek (knee), Brendan Lemieux (fractured hand)


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- Mitchell Marner

Pierre Engvall -- John Tavares -- William Nylander 

Dmytro Timashov -- Alexander Kerfoot -- Kasperi Kapanen

Adam Brooks -- Frederik Gauthier -- Jason Spezza

Morgan Rielly -- Tyson Barrie

Travis Dermott -- Cody Ceci

Martin Marincin -- Justin Holl

Frederik Andersen

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched:  Timothy Liljegren, Kenny Agostino

Injured: Andreas Johnsson (leg), Trevor Moore (concussion), Ilya Mikheyev (wrist surgery), Jake Muzzin (broken foot)


Status report

Neither team held a morning skate. ... Lemieux sustained a fractured hand against the Hurricanes on Friday and will be out 3 to 4 weeks. … The Rangers recalled Fogarty from Hartford of the American Hockey League … Mikheyev was cut on the right wrist accidentally by the skate of Devils forward Jack Hughes on Friday and remains hospitalized in Newark after surgery to repair an artery and severed tendons. He is expected to miss at least three months. Mikheyev and Moore were placed on injurd reserve Saturday; the Maple Leafs called up Agostino and Liljegren from Toronto of the AHL.


Stat pack

Panarin has 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in his past 11 games. … Kreider has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past nine games. … Hyman has seven points (three goals, four assists) during a three-game point streak. … Nylander has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past five games.

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