New Jersey Devils at Toronto Maple Leafs: Game Preview #16

Bruce Bennett

After a big win in Philadelphia, the Devils are right back at it against David Clarkson and the Toronto Maple Leafs. With a tougher opponent than the Flyers, the Devils will need to keep up their solid play against a well-rested team.

The Time: 7:30 PM EDT

The Broadcast: TV - TSN, RDS2, MSG+; Radio - 660 AM / 101.9 FM WFAN

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (4-7-4) at the Toronto Maple Leafs (10-5-0); SBN Blog: Pension Plan Puppets)

The Last Devils Game: After a few days off, the Devils got a big win in Philadelphia. With goals from Adam Henrique, Cam Janssen (yes, you read that correctly), and an empty netter from Jaromir Jagr, the Devils got their fourth game of the season. An added bonus was career shutout number 122 for Martin Brodeur. It was a great effort from the team overall and they were rewarded for a strong game. You can read the full recap from John here.

The Last Maple Leafs Game: The Leafs have been off since November 2nd. They've had a lot of time to work on their mistakes from a 4-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. This was just their 5th loss of the season. James Reimer was in net and faced 47 shots - more than double the amount of shots the Leafs accumulated with 21. Coach Randy Carlyle called this game their worst performance of the season.

Dave Bolland left the game on a stretcher after sustaining a laceration to his leg. It is being compared to Erik Karlsson's Achilles tendon injury last season. He will be out for a while.

The Goal: It was exciting to see a big win last night in Philadelphia, but the Devils will need to come out strong tonight. The Leafs are a well-rested team coming off a disappointing loss so they are going to be hungry for a win. The Leafs are a dangerous team who don't need many attempts to score goals, so it will be a huge test for the Devils.

Need to keep scoring: Sorry folks, we can't expect goals from Cam Janssen every night. Toronto is 7th in the league in goals scored with an average of 3.13 per game. They can score goals without many shots, too. They are 28th in the league in shots per game (only ahead of Buffalo and New Jersey). While they don't get many shots per game, Toronto allows an average of 36.8 shots per game (29th in the league). If they take them, the opportunities to shoot should be there for New Jersey. The Devils have been letting golden opportunities to shoot pass them by - they need to take those chances.

Kessel and Co: Phil Kessel is leading the Leafs in goals (9) and points (18). Following Kessel are James Van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri with 13 points each. Another offensive threat the Devils need to shut down is Joffrey Lupul. It hasn't been announced which goalie will start for the Leafs yet, but both goalies have been playing well.

Welcome back Clarkson: This will be the first game the Devils face David Clarkson since he signed with the Leafs. While Brodeur is not expected to start, he will still be facing may old friends from his six seasons with the Devils. He has been held to just one assist in his five games played so far this season so he is hungry for his first goal as a Leaf. While there are bigger offensive threats in Toronto, the Devils will have to watch out for Clarkson, as well.

Another injury: While the Devils are plagued with injuries, it was great to see a few guys come back last night. Zajac, Volchenkov, and Harrold returned, but Eric Gelinas left during the third period of the game after blocking a shot from Scott Hartnell. While he said his foot isn't broken, he was on crutches after the game so his chances of playing are slim.

Keep it going: The Devils performed well overall last night. As a team, they were consistent from start to finish. The only expected change in the lineup will be Schneider in for Brodeur, and a replacement for Gelinas if he can't play (Fayne, most likely). New Jersey outshot the Flyers even when they held the lead. They didn't let up and were rewarded for a full effort. They will need to do that again against a tougher opponent in Toronto.

Your take: What do you think the Devils need to do in order to get another win? Do you think New Jersey can shut down the Maple Leafs who can score without many opportunities? Do you think anyone in particular needs to step their game up after last night? Will you be booing Clarkson every time he touches the puck? Please discuss your thoughts on tonight's game in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

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