Devils-Maple Leafs Preview

The Toronto Maple Leafs had the weekend to rest after an

overtime victory that featured a breakout performance by one of

their young stars.

The oldest member of the New Jersey Devils remains out, and they

still haven’t won since his injury.

The Devils look to avoid their first five-game losing streak in

more than two years when they visit Toronto on Monday night.

This is the season’s first matchup between two teams separated

by one point in the standings, and the Leafs (13-9-0) were thrilled

to pick up an extra point with Dion Phaneuf’s OT goal in a 5-4 road

win Thursday over the New York Islanders.

Toronto had squandered a two-goal lead in the third period after

Nazem Kadri completed his first career hat trick in the second. The

22-year-old center has a four-game point streak and leads the Leafs

with 21 points – a position he didn’t expect to occupy so soon.

“I have pretty high expectations for myself,” said Kadri, the

No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 draft, “but I didn’t really see it

like that when I first came into the season.”

James van Riemsdyk, 23, added his team-high 12th goal. The

former Philadelphia forward has scored four times in his last six

regular-season games against New Jersey.

Phil Kessel continues to struggle for Toronto, with no points

and a minus-6 rating in his last two contests. The Leafs lost 5-2

at home to Montreal on Wednesday, but they still haven’t dropped

back-to-back games since Feb. 5 – a 9-4-0 stretch.

“We feel good about ourselves,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “Now

it’s time to get a little exhaling because it’s been such a

whirlwind ride for us. Now it’s time to do some assessments and get

us prepared for our next one Monday.”

The Devils (10-6-5) picked up their only point in their last

four contests in a 4-3 shootout loss Saturday at Buffalo.

Martin Brodeur missed his fourth straight game with a back

injury. The 40-year-old netminder is eligible to be activated from

the injured list Monday but is not expected to return quite


While Brodeur has gone 5-1-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average

in his last seven starts, Johan Hedberg is 0-4-1 with a 3.78 GAA in

his past five.

New Jersey’s offense showed some signs of life Saturday after

scoring two goals or fewer in five of its previous six games.

Andrei Loktionov’s second goal in as many games extended his point

streak to five and tied the contest with 8:38 remaining in


The Devils went 0 for 5 on the power play, though, and have come

up empty on 13 chances during their skid.

“I think we’re figuring it out again, and things are going in

the right direction,” said Ryan Carter, who had an assist in his

first game back after missing four because of an upper-body injury.

“You take the positives and move forward.”

The Devils have won each of their last three games in Toronto in

overtime. Each club has taken 11 of the last 22 meetings.

New Jersey hasn’t dropped five in a row overall since a six-game

skid in December 2010.