The Toronto Maple Leafs are in New York City for a pre-Christmas Eve tilt against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It’s a busy night in the NHL with 14 games on the schedule, before the entire league takes a break until Friday.
Jonathan Bernier earned himself another start after he played well in relief of James Reimer on Saturday. The Leafs battled back from a 3-1 deficit after the first period to take a 4-3 lead, but eventually fell in the shootout. Bernier will get the opportunity tonight to wrestle the starter’s job away from Reimer…for now, anyway.
Henrik Lundqvist, a perennial Vezina Trophy favourite, will get the start for the Rangers. Lundqvist has struggled this year with only a .905 save percentage in 28 games. His struggles have been a microcosm of the whole team, who have lost seven of their last 10 games but still sit tied for fourth in the division and only one point behind the New Jersey Devils for third.
The Rangers have scored the fourth-fewest goals in the league with 86, which is surprising given the number of skilled offensive players on their team. Brad Richards, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider and Derick Brassard are capable of lighting the lamp, and the Leafs defense will have to be on their game to prevent too many chances.
Colton Orr and Paul Ranger will likely slot back into the Leafs’ lineup, while Troy Bodie and John-Michael Liles will sit. Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal are both out for the Rangers. For the full lineup, where to watch, where to listen and other game news and notes, check out the preview.
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GO LEAFS GO! And Merry Christmas!