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Preview: Maple Leafs at Red Wings

Toronto continues push for playoffs in final visit to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit

by Dave Hogg / NHL.com Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (37-24-15) at RED WINGS (31-34-12)

7 p.m. ET; NHLN, FSD, CBC, NHL.TV

 

Maple Leafs team scope

The Toronto Maple Leafs make their final visit to Joe Louis Arena with a chance for two crucial points in their quest to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With six games to play, the Maple Leafs entered the game holding the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference with 89 points, two behind the Ottawa Senators for second place in the Atlantic Division and one behind the third-place Boston Bruins, who defeated the Florida Panthers 5-2 on Saturday. The Maple Leafs lead the Tampa Bay Lightning by four points. Toronto has won five of its past six games, including a 3-1 win at the Nashville Predators on Thursday in which goaltender Frederik Andersen made 29 saves after missing the previous game with a jaw injury. Coach Mike Babcock held his post-morning skate session with the media a few feet from where his name is painted on the wall as the coach of Detroit's 2008 Stanley Cup championship team. "This is an incredible building with a lot of great memories for me, from the things that we accomplished on the ice to everyone behind the scenes," he said. "I'm excited to be back one more time, but I'm equally excited about where we are as an organization and everything we have a chance to accomplish this season."

 

Red Wings team scope

The Detroit Red Wings will be without rookie forward Anthony Mantha, who broke a finger during a 5-3 loss at the Lightning on Thursday. Mantha, expected to miss the season's final five games, is third on the Red Wings with 17 goals. With their 25-season playoff streak already ended, Detroit will be in the unfamiliar role of spoiler against one of its biggest rivals. "We know there are going to be a lot of Leafs fans here tonight, and they will be cocky because they are in right now and we're not," forward Dylan Larkin said. "It would be nice to give our fans something be happy about at the end of the night." Forward Henrik Zetterberg had an assist against Tampa Bay for his 900th NHL point. He is on pace to play in his 1,000th NHL game on April 9 against the New Jersey Devils -- the final game of the regular season and the last game at Joe Louis Arena.

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Connor Brown

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Matt Martin -- Brian Boyle -- Kasperi Kapanen

Matt Hunwick -- Roman Polak

Morgan Rielly -- Connor Carrick

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched : Alexey Marchenko, Ben Smith

Injured : Eric Fehr (hand), Josh Leivo (undisclosed), Nikita Soshnikov (undisclosed)

 

Red Wings projected lineup

Tomas Tatar -- Henrik Zetterberg - Gustav Nyquist

Andreas Athanasiou - Dylan Larkin -- Justin Abdelkader

Darren Helm -- Frans Nielsen -- Riley Sheahan

Tomas Nosek -- Ben Street -- Drew Miller

Danny DeKeyser -- Nick Jensen

Mike Green -- Niklas Kronwall

Robbie Russo -- Xavier Ouellet

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Scratched : None

Injured : Jonathan Ericsson (wrist), Ryan Sproul (knee), Anthony Mantha (finger), Luke Glendening (ankle)

 

Status report

Babcock used the same lines and defense pairs that played in the win against Nashville, with Andersen in the starter's net. Kaspanen is expected to play his third straight game, his first NHL appearances of the season, in place of Marchenko. … Howard will against Toronto for the first time this season. "I'm looking forward to facing all those great young players," he said. "Those kids certainly make games more exciting for a goalie." Street will replace Mantha and will play on the fourth line, with Sheahan moving to the third line.

 

Who's hot

Matthews has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past seven games. Andersen is 7-1-1 with a .939 save percentage in his past 10 games. … Tatar has nine points (six goals, three assists) in his past nine games. Zetterberg has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his past nine games.

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