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Maple Leafs at Panthers preview

Toronto tries for 10th win in 13 games; Florida could be without goalie Bobrovsky

by Alain Poupart / Independent Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (24-15-6) at PANTHERS (23-16-5)



The Game

The Toronto Maple Leafs will look for their 10th win in 13 games when they play the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Sunday.

The Maple Leafs are 9-1-2 in their past 12 but are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 8.

The Panthers, who have alternated wins and losses their past seven games, could be without Sergei Bobrovsky after the goalie left practice early Saturday. Though coach Joel Quenneville said he didn't believe the injury was serious, goalie Sam Montembeaultwas recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League under emergency conditions.

This is the first of four games this season between the Maple Leafs and Panthers, who play again in Toronto on Feb. 3.


Players to watch

Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews has 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) in his past 11 games.

Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau needs one point to tie Olli Jokinen (419) for most in team history. Huberdeau has 28 points (seven goals, 21 assists) in 18 games since Dec. 3.


They said it

"He's been a good player for a long time. He's on a good stretch here, but his whole time he's been in the League, he's been a dominant player and he's responded well to having more minutes." -- Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe on center Auston Matthews

"Yeah, .500 is not going to get us into the playoffs in the second half. We definitely have to go on a little bit of a run and string a few wins together." -- Panthers center Vincent Trocheck


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- Mitchell Marner

Alexander Kerfoot -- John Tavares -- William Nylander

Pierre Engvall -- Jason Spezza -- Kasperi Kapanen

Dmytro Timashov -- Adam Brooks -- Frederik Gauthier

Morgan Rielly -- Tyson Barrie

Martin Marincin -- Cody Ceci

Travis Dermott -- Justin Holl

Frederik Andersen

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Mason Marchment

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


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Brett Connolly -- Vincent Trocheck -- Noel Acciari

Frank Vatrano -- Dominic Toninato -- Mike Hoffman

Colton Sceviour -- Brian Boyle -- Jayce Hawryluk

Mike Matheson -- Aaron Ekblad

Keith Yandle -- Josh Brown

Riley Stillman -- Anton Stralman

Chris Driedger

Sam Montembeault

Scratched: Denis Malgin, Mark Pysyk

Injured: MacKenzie Weegar (upper body), Sergei Bobrovsky (undisclosed)


Status report

Neither team held a morning skate. ... Johnsson, who has missed the past 15 games, practiced Saturday. Keefe said there was a possibility the forward could return against the Panthers. … Weegar, a defenseman, is expected to miss his ninth consecutive game. … Boyle is expected to play his 800th NHL game.


Stat pack

Marner has 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in 16 games since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him for 11 games. … Acciari, who didn't score more than 10 goals in any of his first four NHL seasons, has scored 12 in his past 12 games. … Hoffman has six points (three goals, three assists) during a five-game point streak.

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