Game #9 Preview - Rangers vs Leafs

 

In perhaps their first statement game of the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs (5-2-1) will face off against the New York Rangers (3-2-2). Following their opening trip to Europe and western Canada swing, tonight’s game will be the long delayed home opener for the Rangers. New York has struggled so far this season, and may be facing the Leafs at the best time. New York has gone 6-0-2 and outscored the Leafs 32-11, Ranger fans are hoping this dominance continues. With the looming absence of Marc Staal, the Rangers have struggled defensively to begin this season. Kurt Sauer will return to the Rangers lineup tonight. 
 
Following a loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, the Leafs need to re-establish themselves with a win. With Toronto being the second youngest team in the league it is crucial that they don't get into an early season funk like last season. A win tonight against a struggling Eastern Conference team will go a long way in demonstrating that this team is a playoff contender. The Leafs will have two key forwards back in the lineup tonight with Tyler Bozak and top line centreman Tim Connolly. Connolly will be making his Maple Leaf debut in between sizzling wingers Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. James Reimer was expected to start tonight, but didn’t take part in practice, and has been confirmer to be out of the lineup. Colby Armstrong (sprained knee) is still a couple of weeks away.  Jonas Gustavsson is expected to start with Ben Scrivens backing him up. Gustavsson’s last start at MSG was a 7-0 Leafs loss. The Monster has had a rough start to this season, hopefully he can be solid enough for the Leafs to win in regulation tonight. 
 
Lineups
 
Leafs 
 
Forwards
Lupul – Connolly – Kessel
Kulemin – Grabovski – MacArthur
Frattin – Bozak – Lombardi 
Brown – Steckel – Dupuis
 
Defense
Gunnarsson – Phaneuf
Gardiner – Schenn
Liles – Komisarek 
 
Goalies
Gustavsson
Scrivens
 
Rangers
 
Forwards
Fedotenko – Richards – Gaborik
Dubinsky – Stepan – Callahan
Wolski – Boyle – Prust
Christensen – Anisimov – Newbury 
 
Defense
McDonagh – Girardi 
Del Zotto – Sauer
Woywitka – Erixon
 
Goalies
Lundqvist
Biron 
 
Game Time: 7:00 at Madison Square Garden. TV – TSN. Radio – AM640.