Devils Gameday Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs –03/07/23

The New Jersey Devils can expect an electrifying crowd at Prudential Center tonight when Timo Meier makes his debut in front of the home crowd against Mitch Marner and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tuesday’s game marks the club’s 32nd home game of the season for an 18-11-2 record. It will also conclude a three-game series, with each team earning a victory so far.

New Jersey Devils Gameday Preview MacKenzie Blackwood, Nico Hischier and Dougie Hamilton
MacKenzie Blackwood, Nico Hischier, Dougie Hamilton (The Hockey Writers)

On Sunday, the Devils earned a 5-4 overtime victory versus the Arizona Coyotes, giving them the most overtime wins in a single season in franchise history. Captain Nico Hischier collected his seventh game-winning goal of the season, which was also his sixth-career overtime goal.

Youngster Dawson Mercer extended his career-high point streak to nine games (10 goals, six assists) after collecting an assist on Damon Severson’s power-play goal. Mercer also became the seventh player in NHL history to record a goal streak of eight or more games at age 21 or younger (per the NHL). He joins an impressive list that includes Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, and Stan Mikita.

Setting the Stage

How to Watch and Listen

Tonight’s 7:00 P.M. broadcast will be exclusively on MSGSN. Play-by-Play announcer Bill Spaulding will have the call alongside Ken Daneyko. As always, fans can listen to the contest on the Devils Hockey Network.

New Jersey’s Morning Skate Lineup:

Tomas Tatar – Nico Hischier – Dawson Mercer

Timo Meier – Jack Hughes – Jesper Bratt

Ondrej Palat – Erik Haula – Jesper Boqvist

Miles Wood – Michael McLeod – Nathan Bastian

Jonas Siegenthaler – Dougie Hamilton

Ryan Graves – John Marino

Kevin Bahl – Damon Severson

Vitek Vanecek

Toronto’s Practice Lineup from March 6:

Alexander Kerfoot – Auston Matthews- Mitch Marner

Calle Jarnkrok – Sam Lafferty- William Nylander

Zach Aston Reese – David Kampf – Noel Acciari

Michael Bunting – Pontus Holmberg – Alex Steeves

Jake McCabe – Jordie Brodie

Mark Giordano – Justin Holl

Morgan Rielly – Timothy Liljegren

Ilya Samsonov

Players who participated in the team’s optional morning skate this morning: Bunting, Aston-Reese, Kerfoot, Holmberg, Steeves, Kampf, Lafferty, Giordano, Timmins, Gustafsson, Samsonov, and Murray.

About the Maple Leafs

Maple Leafs Will Be Without O’Reilly and Tavares

Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said that newly acquired forward Ryan O’Reilly will be placed on long-term injured reserve because of a broken finger. The 32-year-old was hit in the hand by an Auston Matthews shot in the second period of a 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on March 4.

Related: Maple Leafs’ O’Reilly, Acciari Shine in Debut Against Canadiens

Latest News & Highlights

Toronto will also be without captain John Tavares, who was ruled out of tonight’s contest with an unspecified illness. The former New York Islanders forward has been a thorn in New Jersey’s side, with a hat trick and 38 points in 47 games against them.

A New Look in Toronto

The Maple Leafs were one of the busiest teams ahead of the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. In addition to acquiring O’Reilly, they added Noel Acciari, Jake McCabe, Sam Lafferty, Erik Gustafsson, Luke Schenn, and Radim Zohoma.

Kyle Dubas, Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON. Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas.
(Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The Maple Leafs are in win-now mode, and Keefe had this to say about the moves made by general manager Kyle Dubas:

“Kyle looked at our team and has been really honest about it,” Keefe said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that we’ve improved in our depth and our competitiveness at both at forward and defense.”

Notable Statistics Versus Toronto

  • Palat has earned 20 points (11 goals, 9 assists) in 30 career games versus the Maple Leafs.
  • In his last seven games versus Toronto, Bratt has collected eight points (two goals, six assists).
  • Wood made his NHL debut for the Devils on April 9, 2016, against the Maple Leafs.
  • The last time a New Jersey player earned a hat trick on the road was in Toronto. Blake Coleman scored three versus Frederik Andersen in a Devils’ 7-4 loss on Jan. 14, 2020.
  •  Mackenzie Blackwood made his NHL debut in a 7–2 loss to the Maple Leafs. He replaced starter Keith Kinkaid in the third period and saved eight of ten shots.

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