Game Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs v.s. New Jersey Devils
It's going to be OK, breathe, just breathe, guys – the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to do just fine without Joffrey Lupul.
The Leafs are going to rebound from their loss against the Philadelphia
Flyers and find a way to beat the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. It's OK that
the Devils are in the same, desperate situation as the Flyers were – fighting
for eighth place.
Instead of flopping over like they did against the Flyers, at home no less, the Leafs are going to fly into New Jersey and roll over the Devils, a team that has only two wins in its last 10 games. And punishing the Devils is important – the Leafs play them again a week later.
Getting out of Toronto, away from the Lupul frenzy, will help the boys concentrate. Getting two points on the road, before back-to-back games against the New York Rangers, will help the boys regain confidence. We beat the Devils last time around, 4-2 at home.
In the win, Nazem Kadri scored, as did Phil Kessel, and JVR chipped in an
assist – all players who will step up in Lupul's absence. The recap is in the video here.
Johan Hedberg backstopped the Devils last time out, and this time around, Martin Brodeur will likely get the nod. The best goalie in the NHL.
But, Brodeur has lost his last five starts. The Leafs can take some comfort in that – I am. And whether it's James Reimer – who beat the Devils last time – or Ben Scrivens facing off against Brodeur, the Leafs defencemen will be sure to give their goalie a chance to win.
They have no other choice, considering the lapses they displayed against the Flyers, and considering newest Leafs defenceman Ryan O'Byrne may be suiting up for the first time. O'Byrne will have something to prove, and his teammates will not want to be outshone.
In 11 games remaining this season, the Leafs play three teams twice: the Devils, Rangers, and Montreal Canadiens. Those three, two-game series are key to making the playoffs.
It starts Saturday with the Devils. And that's a good thing, if we again look to superstitions: the buds have points in their last four games played on a Saturday (two wins and two shootout losses).
Go Leafs Go! Enjoy some more Leafs dumping Devils pics. Cheers.