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Rangers, Maple Leafs look to get back in win column

by Tal Pinchevsky

MAPLE LEAFS (32-23-8) at RANGERS (33-26-3)


Last 10: Toronto 5-2-3; New York 6-4-0

Season series: The Toronto Maple Leafs hope to finally beat the New York Rangers when they meet for the final time Wednesday. New York dismantled Toronto 7-1 on Jan. 4 and won 2-1 in a shootout on Dec. 23. Toronto has not won at Madison Square Garden since Dec. 5, 2011.

Big story: The Eastern Conference teams are in the thick of the Stanley Cup Playoff race and looking at a lengthy stretch on the road. Toronto plays six of its next seven away from Air Canada Centre, and New York will play seven of nine away from MSG after this game.

Team Scope:

Maple Leafs: Looking to crack the top three spots in the Atlantic Division, the Maple Leafs have yet to win since the end of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. They dropped consecutive overtime games to the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens before losing 2-1 at home to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.

Toronto did not practice Tuesday and is looking to manage its salary-cap situation as center Dave Bolland inches his way back into the lineup after missing 48 games and counting with a lacerated tendon. It's not known when he'll return, but it's clear the Maple Leafs could use more scoring depth. U.S. Olympians Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk have scored three of the past four goals and the loss to Columbus made Toronto's record 4-17-2 when Kessel fails to record a point.

On the eve of the NHL Trade Deadline, the Maple Leafs were looking to block out any potential rumors.

"The trade deadline is always a factor in any hockey player's life. Having played for a number of years, it was one of the situations you remember," coach Randy Carlyle said after the loss Monday. "It's not a lot of fun being a player at this time of year, especially in today's Twitter world. There's a lot more to it than when I was traded in 1984. I don't think they had Twitter then."

Rangers: Like Toronto, New York was winning before the Olympic break but has dropped consecutive games against the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins. Derek Dorsett returned from a broken fibula in the 4-2 loss in Philadelphia on Saturday. After being inserted on the fourth line with Brian Boyle and Daniel Carcillo, Dorsett was scratched Sunday against Boston in favor of Dominic Moore.

Moore could remain on the fourth line against Toronto. The trio was playing very well with him alongside Boyle and Carcillo, and the veteran forward scored twice the prior time these teams met.

Center Derick Brassard, despite losing linemate Mats Zuccarello, who suffered a fractured hand playing in the Olympics, has managed to stay hot for the Rangers with two goals in three games since the season's resumption. J.T. Miller, who took Zuccarello's spot on the third line with Brassard and Benoit Pouliot, has a goal and an assist in three games.

Who's hot: Maple Leafs forward Mason Raymond has three goals in his past five games. Van Riemsdyk has two goals and five points in three games since returning from Sochi. Kessel went pointless against Columbus but has 13 goals and 31 points in his past 18 games. … Rangers forward Derek Stepan has four assists in three games since representing the United States at the Olympics.

Injury report: Toronto is without forward Colton Orr (undisclosed) and Bolland. … Zuccarello remains out for the Rangers.

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