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Preview: Maple Leafs at Red Wings

Toronto seeks point in 11th straight road game; Detroit looks to gain in wild card chase

by Dave Hogg / NHL.com Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (22-14-9) at RED WINGS (20-19-9)

7 p.m. ET; SN, FS-D, NHL.TV

 

Maple Leafs team scope

The Toronto Maple Leafs are 4-1-1 in their past six games and haven't lost a road game in regulation since a 3-0 defeat against the Calgary Flames on Nov. 30 (8-0-2). "We're doing a lot of good things right now, but that comes with a price," coach Mike Babcock said. "Teams notice when you start winning, and they step up their games against you. We have to be ready for that." Rookie defenseman Nikita Zaitsev grew up watching Sergei Fedorov and Igor Larionov of the Detroit Red Wings and took some time to enjoy his first regular-season visit to Joe Louis Arena. "I was here in the preseason, but I walked around today to see this building and all the history here," he said. It's the first game between the Maple Leafs are Red Wings since a 5-4 overtime victory by Toronto in the Centennial Classic on New Year's Day.

 

Red Wings team scope

The Red Wings have lost three straight games following a 4-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, all in overtime, but have points in each of their past six games (3-0-3). Detroit trails Toronto by four points for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot, but the Maple Leafs have three games in hand. "It's imperative that we get those extra points," defenseman Mike Green said after the loss in Boston. "Right now, it is not good enough to get the point. We have to find a way to get it done in regular time." … Goalie Jared Coreau made an NHL career-high 45 saves in Boston, including 19 in the first period, but could sit in favor of Petr Mrazek. "[Coreau] was obviously very good tonight, especially in that first period," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We need to find a way to improve the way we are starting games."

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- William Nylander

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- Connor Brown

Matt Martin -- Frederik Gauthier -- Nikita Soshnikov

Martin Marincin -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick -- Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Josh Leivo, Frank Corrado

Injured: Morgan Rielly (lower body), Ben Smith (hand)

 

Red Wings projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Tomas Tatar

Darren Helm -- Frans Nielsen -- Anthony Mantha

Andreas Athanasiou -- Riley Sheahan -- Tomas Jurco

Justin Abdelkader -- Luke Glendening -- Drew Miller

Danny DeKeyser -- Mike Green

Xavier Ouellet -- Jonathan Ericsson

Niklas Kronwall -- Nick Jensen

Petr Mrazek

Jared Coreau

Scratched: Steve Ott, Ryan Sproul, Alexey Marchenko

Injured: Tyler Bertuzzi (ankle), Jimmy Howard (knee), Brendan Smith (knee), Thomas Vanek (lower body), Dylan Larkin (upper body)

 

Status report

Reilly did not practice Wednesday morning, and will miss his fourth straight game. He is doubtful for the game Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers. … The Maple Leafs used the same line combinations and defense pairs on Wednesday from a 4-0 win against the Flames on Monday. … Polak will play in his 600th NHL game. ... The Red Wings did not skate Wednesday morning, but Mrazek is expected to start after Coreau played against the Bruins.

 

Who's hot

Matthews has eight goals and 15 points in his past 15 games. … Kadri has seven goals and five assists in his past nine games. … Green has two goals and four assists in his past six games. … Zetterberg had two assists against Boston.

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