Toronto Maple Leafs Game Preview: Sunday Night Against the New York Rangers


Toronto Maple Leafs Game Preview: Sunday Night Against the New York Rangers

We have all waited patiently and now it is time to drop the puck on a new season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Here at the Tip of the Tower we strive to give you as much content on your Toronto sports teams as humanly possible. This series will preview every single Toronto Maple Leafs game and what you should know for the game that night.

Toronto Maple Leafs (0-2-0) at New York Rangers (1-1-0) – 7:00pm on City.

Leafs Injury Report:

David Booth is out with a broken foot.

Projected Line Combinations (Leafs)

Rangers Injury Report:

Dan Boyle is out with a broken hand.

Derek Stepan is out with a fractured tibula.

Projected Line Combinations (Rangers)

Game Preview:

The Toronto Maple Leafs will get an early look at last season’s Stanley Cup Finalists in the New York Rangers. The match up will see the original six rivals meet for the first of three times this season and the only time in New York. The Leafs will look to avoid starting the year with an 0-3 record for the first time in 24 years. The Rangers took two of the three games from the Leafs last season, but both games at Madison Square garden went beyond regulation.

Mar 5, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak (42) scores a penalty shot goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto comes into New York hoping to get back on track and find a way to snag their first points of the season. After giving up a lead in the third against the Montreal Canadiens and never really having a chance against the Pittsburgh Penguins, they will need to get off to a quick start against Lundqvist and the Rangers. The Rangers started their 2014 campaign off with a win against the St. Louis Blues, but also lost handily last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Sep 29, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) watches play during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

With both teams playing in the ladder half of back-to-back games tonight, it is likely that James Reimer and “King” Henrik Lundqvist will get the start in goal. It would be Reimer’s first start of the year and a big statement game if he can help backstop the Leafs to their first win of the season in a tough match up in the Big Apple.

Toronto Maple Leafs:

Phil Kessel career vs Rangers: 27 GP – 7 G – 9 A – 16 PTS

James Van Riemsdyk career vs Rangers: 20 GP – 5 G – 3 A – 8 PTS

James Reimer vs career Rangers: 4 GP – 1 W – 3.30 GAA – .909 SV%

New York Rangers:

Rick Nash career vs Leafs: 14 GP – 4 G – 6 A – 10 PTS

Martin St. Louis career vs Leafs: 52 GP – 18 G – 33 A – 51 PTS

Henrik Lundqvist career vs Leafs:  24 GP – 12 W – 2.66 GAA – .905 SV%

Keys To Victory:

– The Leafs need to dominate the shot chart tonight against the Rangers, as they have been out-shot 73-57 in their first two games.

Mar 5, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel (81) controls the puck in front of New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis (26) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. The Maple Leafs defeated the Rangers 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

If they want to get a couple past King Henrik, they need to improve drastically in this department. Last season it seemed that the Leafs were being out-shot just about all the time and this isn’t a habit that should be implemented into the new season.  We didn’t see enough traffic in front of the opposing net in the first two games and it needs to come from more than just David Clarkson. This will not only make Lundqvist’s task more difficult, but hopefully wear down some of the Rangers big defencemen.

– The Maple Leafs need to use their speed and control the pace of play against the Rangers. They are generally an older team with some big bodies both up front and on the back-end. If the Leafs can use their speed and quickness to keep a fast tempo up into the neutral zone, they will be able to generate scoring chances. They played with too much caution heading into the neutral zone last night against the Penguins’ lethal offense and it did not allow them any sort of offensive rhythm.

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– The Penguins tore apart the Leafs penalty kill last night with three early power-play goals. With eight minutes left in the second period, the Leafs had already taken six minor penalties and it was their kryptonite. Against a dangerous offense in Pittsburgh, they never gave themselves a chance as their flailing sticks and failure to count up to six had them in the box way too often. They need to stay out of the penalty box tonight and focus on drawing penalties by using their speed.

– The pressure is on for James Reimer tonight after Jonathan Bernier was lit up for nine goals on seventy-two shots in his first two games to start the year. If Reimer can pull out a victory in New York, it will not go unnoticed by Carlyle and the Leafs faithful. Reimer needs to control his rebounds tonight and get off to a strong start in order to give his team a chance to win. The first couple of saves will be important for both Reimer and the Leafs. They need to know that they can rely on their back-end, in order to create chances against Henrik Lundqvist.

Sep 26, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer (34) warms up before the game against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

It is going to be a difficult match up for the Maple Leafs in the hostile Madison Square Garden, especially considering that the Rangers will be raising their Eastern Conference Champion banner tonight. The Buds need a complete team effort tonight, complimented by a strong start in order to take down the New York Rangers for their first win of the season.