Devils close season series with Leafs
Wednesday, 04.06.2011 / 9:25 AM
NHL.comMAPLE LEAFS (37-32-11) at DEVILS (36-38-5)
MSG PLUS (HD) RADIO:
Toronto 7-2-1, New Jersey 3-6-1.
Season series --
This is the fourth and final meeting. Jonas Gustavsson, who is currently playing for the Toronto Marlies in the AHL, led the Maple Leafs to a pair of victories over New Jersey with 29-save efforts in a 3-1 win on Nov. 18 at the Air Canada Centre and a 4-1 victory on Dec. 26 at the Prudential Center. On Feb. 10, Ilya Kovalchuk
scored 4:36 into overtime to give the Devils a 2-1 triumph in Toronto.
Big story --
The Leafs have been one of the best teams since the All-Star break, going 18-7-6 and compiling 42 points in the process, but Tuesday's shootout loss signaled the end of any playoff-bound aspirations. The Leafs have won six of their past eight, yet remain in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 85 points. The Devils, meanwhile, were officially eliminated from playoff contention with their defeat to Montreal on Saturday. New Jersey will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1996.
Maple Leafs --
The Leafs were officially knocked out of playoff contention following their 3-2 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. Nikolai Kulemin and Joffrey Lupul scored for the Leafs, whose postseason push ended when Buffalo beat Tampa Bay, 4-2. Toronto will miss the playoffs for a franchise-record sixth straight season.
The Devils scored one goal in a loss to Montreal on Saturday night, the 35th time this season they scored one or none in a game. In the team's 4-2 setback to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, the Devils received goals by David Steckel
and Brian Rolston
but were held to two or fewer goals for the 51st time this season. Steckel's goal, by the way, was his first in 16 games since being traded to New Jersey.
Who's hot --
Devils right wing Patrik Elias
has 3 goals and 6 points over the last four games, but he'll miss the playoffs for the first time in his NHL career. … Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf has 12 points and a plus-7 rating in his past 15 games.
Injury report --
New Jersey defenseman Colin White
has missed the last five games and defenseman Anton Volchenkov
has missed four of the last five with lower-body injuries. … Colton Orr (concussion) and Colby Armstrong (broken foot) are still out for the Leafs.
Stat pack --
Leafs goalie James Reimer made 23 saves in a 4-2 victory over the Senators on Saturday to earn his 20th win and become just the eighth Toronto rookie to win that many in one season. Toronto's 2006 fourth round pick (No. 99 overall) has gone 20-8-5 with a 2.52 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 35 games with the Leafs.
Puck drop --
Devils left wing Zach Parise
, who returned to the Devils lineup Saturday night against the Canadiens, logged 16:05 of ice time and took two shots on goal in his first game since Nov. 3. Parise was a healthy scratch against the Penguins on Tuesday, but is expected to return to the lineup against the Maple Leafs.