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Rangers Head to Toronto to Take on the Maple Leafs

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The Rangers look to end a three-game slide Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

New York is coming off a 7-6 loss Tuesday to Dallas that saw them nearly overcome a four-goal third period deficit, only for them to come up just a goal short.

Both Derek Stepan and Mika Zibanejad scored two goals while Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and two assists.

Henrik Lundqvist will get the start for the Rangers as he looks to bounce back from Tuesday's loss to the Stars.

Mats Zuccarello tied a single-game career high with three assists and three points against the Stars on Tuesday, and comes into tonight's contest with 15 assists in his last 12 games dating back to Dec. 18, which is tops in the NHL during that span. He's had great success against Toronto in his career with nine goals and 15 points in 11 games, including a current six-game point streak.

Thursday marks the second of three meetings between the Rangers and Maple Leafs and the second in less than a week's time. The two teams met last Friday at Madison Square Garden, with the visiting Leafs leaving New York with a 4-1 win.

Toronto comes into the game winners of three straight and currently sit third in the Atlantic Division, three points behind Boston with six games in hand.

Rookie Auston Matthews is leading the Leafs with 38 points in 42 games, which is also the most points by any rookie in the NHL this season. 

The youth movement doesn't end there, as 19-year-old Mitch Marner has 36 points in 42 contests and 20-year-old William Nylander has 29. Veteran James van Riemsdyk is having a strong season with 16 goals and 36 points, also in 42 games.

Starting goaltender Frederik Andersen was in net for Toronto last week against the Rangers and has one his only start since then, which came Tuesday against Buffalo. He's 19-9-7 with a 2.67 GAA and a .918 SV% this season.

Toronto could be without defenseman Morgan Rielly, who left Tuesday's game and is listed as day-to-day, according to the team's website.

Two of the NHL's best power plays will be on display Thursday, with Toronto's 24.4 percent ranking second, and the Rangers' 22.8 percent fifth. Toronto also has the fifth best penalty kill at 84.5 percent, while the Rangers come in 16th at 81.6 percent.

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