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Preview: Maple Leafs at Devils

New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene out; Toronto tries to remedy third-period problems

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

MAPLE LEAFS (17-12-8) at DEVILS (16-16-7)

7:30 p.m. ET; MSG Plus, SNO, NHL.TV

 

Maple Leafs team scope

The Toronto Maple Leafs come into Prudential Center with points in their past six games (5-0-1), including five consecutive games on the road (4-0-1). A win would move them into third place in the Atlantic Division and put them in a Stanley Cup Playoff position for the first time this season. However, the Maple Leafs are focused on trying to rectify the problems they've had in third periods. They have given away multiple-goal leads in the third period in three of their past four games, including a three-goal lead late in the third period against the Detroit Red Wings in the 2017 Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic on Sunday before Auston Matthews scored the winner in overtime. They also blew leads of 4-2 and 5-4 in the third period against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday and lost 6-5 in overtime. The Maple Leafs are minus-7 in goal differential in the third period this season; they are plus-14 in the first two periods. "It's just stepping off the pedal for a little bit in the third periods," Matthews said. "I wouldn't say we get too comfortable, but we step away from what we were doing and kind of get into that shutdown mode instead of going out and just playing hockey. That's part of being a young team, but that's really no excuse for us. We don't use that as an excuse. We know we're a talented team and we know what we're capable of. Those are games we need to close out."

 

Devils team scope

New Jersey Devils captain Andy Greene's consecutive games played streak will end at 350 because of an arm injury he sustained against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Greene hasn't missed a game since March 4, 2012. Seth Helgeson, who was recalled from Albany of the American Hockey League on Monday, will take Greene's place in the lineup. Devils coach John Hynes said Greene is also doubtful for the game against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Greene's streak ends as the third-longest consecutive games played streak in Devils history behind Travis Zajac (401) and Ken Daneyko (388). "I think when you look at how many games he's been able to play, to be able to do that you also have to play through a lot of injuries and I think Andy has done that," Hynes said. "Unfortunately this is one that is going to end the streak for him, but it was nice that he was able to play that many games in a row. It's one of the big reasons he's such a key part of our team and our franchise." The Devils have won two games in a row and are 3-1-0 in their past four. Goalie Cory Schneider has allowed one goal on 52 shots in back-to-back wins against the Boston Bruins and Hurricanes. New Jersey has scored three goals in back-to-back games for the first time since doing it in three straight games from Dec. 1-6.

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- Connor Brown

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Matt Martin -- Frederik Gauthier -- Nikita Soshnikov

Morgan Rielly -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick -- Roman Polak

Antoine Bibeau

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: Josh Leivo

Injured: Martin Marincin (lower body), Ben Smith (upper body)

 

Devils projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Pavel Zacha -- PA Parenteau

Michael Cammalleri -- Adam Henrique -- Kyle Palmieri

Miles Wood -- Travis Zajac -- Beau Bennett

Sergey Kalinin -- Devante Smith-Pelly -- Nick Lappin

Kyle Quincey -- Ben Lovejoy

Jon Merrill -- Damon Severson

Seth Helgeson -- Steven Santini

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Luke Gazdic

Injured: Jacob Josefson (illness), Andy Greene (arm), Vernon Fiddler (lower body), John Moore (concussion)

 

Status report

Hynes said his defense pairs will be game-time decisions because changes must be made with Greene being out for the first time. He also said Gazdic would be scratched only if Lappin, who was sick and missed practice Monday, is able to play. Lappin skated Tuesday morning and said he was OK to play.

 

Who's hot

Matthews has 11 points (six goals, five assists) during his seven-game point streak. Nylander has points in six straight games (2-4-6), Hyman has at least one assist in five straight games and Komarov has goals in each of the past two. … Cammalleri, Palmieri and Henrique each had a goal and an assist in the win against Carolina. Parenteau has five goals in his past nine games.

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