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Preview: Maple Leafs at Predators

Toronto seeks to gain in Atlantic; Nashville can reclaim third in Central

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (36-24-15) at PREDATORS (39-26-11)

8 p.m. ET; TSN4, FS-TN, NHL.TV

 

Maple Leafs team scope

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one point ahead of the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division and trail the Ottawa Senators by four points for second place in the division. Toronto is 8-2-1 in its past 11 games. Goaltender Frederik Andersen will return after missing one game with a jaw injury. "If you look positive, it's a few days in between games," Andersen said. "You always try to stay positive about everything, so that's the glass half full." Toronto will put an emphasis on trying to contain the Nashville Predators defensemen. "Their top four [defensemen] play a lot of minutes and are real active," coach Mike Babcock said. "They have a lot of skill on this team so we're going to have to play right. If we play right, we'll limit their opportunities. If we get into being silly and turning pucks over, they're going to look really good so we've got to be smart about what we do and spend some time in the offensive zone."

 

Predators team scope

The Predators are 10 points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. They are one point behind the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Central Division. Center Mike Fisher participated in the morning skate and could play. He has missed four games with a lower-body injury. The Predators are 7-2-0 in their past nine games and have won seven of their past eight home games. "I think just keep playing like we've been doing," forward Filip Forsberg said. "Obviously last game (a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday) was a little [setback], but other than that I think we've been playing pretty good hockey. We've been playing hard defensively and scoring goals as well so just try to stay with that and improve if we can." Peter Laviolette will coach in his 1,000th NHL game. He's 516-360-25-98 with the Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers. "It's been such an honor for me just to be here coaching and working with so many great people along the way," Laviolette said. "Great coaches, great players, great organizations and great cities. I feel lucky to be a part of it."

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Connor Brown

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Matt Martin -- Brian Boyle -- Kasperi Kapanen

Morgan Rielly -- Connor Carrick

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Matt Hunwick -- Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Alexey Marchenko, Ben Smith

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

 

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

PA Parenteau -- Calle Jarnkrok -- James Neal

Colin Wilson -- Colton Sissons -- Craig Smith

Cody McLeod -- Mike Fisher -- Austin Watson

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Anthony Bitetto -- Matt Irwin

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Kevin Fiala, Vernon Fiddler, Brad Hunt, Harry Zolnierczyk

Injured: Miikka Salomaki (lower body), Yannick Weber (upper body)

 

Status report

Bozak did not participate in the morning skate, but Babcock said he is expected to play. … Parenteau took Fiala's place on line rushes alongside Jarnkrok and Neal. … Weber did not participate in the morning skate.

 

Who's hot

Nylander has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) during a 12-game point streak. … Craig Smith has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his past five games.

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