In their second game in three days, Devils rookie forward Joseph Blandisi and the New Jersey Devils (26-20-5) will meet the Toronto Maple Leafs (18-22-9) tonight at Air Canada Centre at 7:30 PM EST in their final trip across the United States-Canadian border this season.
Cory Schneider is expected to get the nod between the pipes tonight in what would be his eighth consecutive start. However, Devils head coach John Hynes told Tom Gulitti of NorthJersey.com on Wednesday following practice in Newark that he would determine his starting goaltender on Thursday morning in Toronto.
“It’s another one of those situations where let’s see where he’s at, how he feels,” Hynes said regarding Schneider to NorthJersey.com on Wednesday. “Keith is prepared to play if need be, but we’ll make that decision in the morning.”
Devils defenseman John Moore is also expected to return to the lineup tonight after sitting out the last three games with a lower-body injury. It is undetermined who will sit out of the lineup tonight in favor of Moore. He last played on January 21st against the Ottawa Senators.
Tonight’s meeting is the second of three this season between the Devils and Maple Leafs. Two months ago, when these teams met in Toronto on December 8th, 2015, the Devils fell in the shootout, 3-2. Nazem Kadri recorded the game-winning goal in the fifth round of the shootout. Cory Schneider made 35 saves and Lee Stempniak, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, James van Riemsdyk, and Kyle Palmieri recorded goals for their respective teams.
The Devils and Maple Leafs will meet once more this season on April 9th,, 2016 in the final 2015-16 regular season home game at the Prudential Center.
The Devils are coming into tonight’s game having defeated the New York Rangers on Tuesday in Newark, 3-2 as David Schlemko scored his first career NHL power-play goal and his fifth goal of the season at 11:14 of the 3rd period. It was Schlemko’s third game-winning goal as a New Jersey Devil. Lee Stempniak and Joseph Blandisi also scored for New Jersey. Cory Schneider made 31 saves in his second victory against the Rangers this season. J.T. Miller scored twice for the Rangers and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves.
Our post-game recap of Tuesday’s win can be found by clicking here.
Down by two goals in the third period on Tuesday night at TD Garden against the Boston Bruins, the Leafs came from behind to win their last game in overtime, 4-3. Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau scored the game-winning goal at the 3:06 mark in OT. Leo Komarov, Daniel Winnik, and Nazem Kadri tallied goals in regulation for Toronto and goaltender James Reimer stopped 39 of 42 shots on goal.
Projected Line Combinations:
New Jersey Devils (as of Wednesday’s practice in Newark, per Tom Gulitti)
Joseph Blandisi-Adam Henrique-Lee Stempniak
Sergey Kalinin-Travis Zajac-Kyle Palmieri
Reid Boucher-Jacob Josefson-Tyler Kennedy
Bobby Farnham-Stephen Gionta-Jordin Tootoo
Extra forwards: Tuomo Ruutu, Stefan Matteau
Andy Greene-Adam Larsson
David Schlemko-Eric Gelinas
Seth Helgeson-John Moore
Extra defenseman: Damon Severson
Goaltenders: Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid.
New Jersey Devils Injury List: LW/RW Ryane Clowe (concussion symptoms, out indefinitely), LW Patrik Elias (right knee, injured reserve), C/LW Jiri Tlusty (wrist, will miss the remainder of the regular season), D Jon Merrill (right arm, injured reserve), C/LW Michael Cammalleri (right hand, injured reserve, ruled out through the end of this week).
Toronto Maple Leafs (per Daily Faceoff, subject to change):
Peter Holland-Nazem Kadri-Leo Komarov
Michael Grabner-Tyler Bozak-P.A. Parenteau
Shawn Matthias-Nick Spalling-Daniel Winnik
Joffrey Lupul-Byron Froese-Richard Clune
Matt Hunwick-Morgan Reilly
Dion Phaneuf-Frank Corrado
Jake Gardiner-Roman Polak
Goaltenders: James Reimer, Jonathan Bernier.
Toronto Maple Leafs Injury List: D Stephane Robidas (undisclosed, injured reserve, no timetable for return), LW James van Riemsdyk (left foot, will miss 6-8 weeks, injured reserve).
Projected Goaltending Matchup:
New Jersey Devils:
Cory Schneider (23-15-5 in 43GP, 2.03 GAA, .929 SV%) – After an impressive performance against the Rangers, Schneider is anticipated to be back in net tonight against the Leafs in what would be his eighth consecutive start between the pipes. Schneider stopped 31 of 33 shots and put up a .939 save percentage in 59:46 played on Tuesday against the New York Rangers.
Toronto Maple Leafs:
James Reimer (9-8-6 in 25GP, 2.14 GAA, .932 SV%) – Reimer earned his first victory since prior to the All-Star break on Tuesday in Boston. In his most recent start, the Manitoba native stopped 39 of 42 shots on goal in 62:29 played and recorded a .929 save percentage with 3 goals against.
Players to Watch:
New Jersey Devils:
Joseph Blandisi (2G-5A, 7 points in 12GP)– The 21-year old Markham, Ontario native and Devils rookie forward will make his hometown professional debut tonight in front of 70 to 100 friends and family at the Air Canada Centre. In his last five games played, Blandisi has recorded five points. He scored a timely game-tying goal against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, which was the second goal of his National Hockey League career.
Toronto Maple Leafs:
Nazem Kadri (11G-17A, 28 points in 49GP) – The top-line Maple Leafs center has recorded four points (3 goals, 1 assist) in his last four games played. He tallied one goal and one assist against Boston on Tuesday playing alongside Peter Holland and NHL All-Star Leo Komarov. He also scored the game-winning goal in the shootout against the Devils back on December 8th, 2015.
Credits to Getty Images for all images used.
Tonight’s game will be televised on MSG+ with pre-game coverage beginning at 7:00 PM and puck drop at 7:30. It will also be broadcasted on WFAN Sports Radio (101.9 FM) with Matt Loughlin and Sherry Ross beginning at 6:30 PM. It will also be televised to Canadian subscribers on Sportsnet Ontario. Check with your TV provider for all channel listings.
Nick Papadimas is a New Jersey native, New Jersey Devils season ticket holder, and avid hockey fan. He is an aspiring sports journalist and high school student who has also covered high school sports and local events for TAPinto.net since 2012. He has been credentialed on behalf of the NJSIAA and TAPinto.net to cover high school sports since 2013. Nick may be reached on Twitter (@ngpaps) or by e-mail at email@example.com.