National Hockey League
Preview
New Jersey at Toronto
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, March 23, 2017
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Maple Leafs are on their way toward ending their postseason drought and look to strengthen their position when they host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. Toronto, which has missed the playoffs each of the last three seasons and has qualified once since the 2004-05 lockout, grabbed hold of third place in the Atlantic Division with Wednesday's 5-2 triumph in Columbus.

Rookie William Nylander snapped a 2-2 tie in the second period and was one of four Maple Leafs with a goal and an assist, extending his point streak to nine games, as the team moved one point ahead of idle Boston, which has played one more contest. Toronto is riding a four-game point streak (3-0-1) and has not lost in regulation at home since Feb. 18, going 4-0-3 since falling to Atlantic-rival Ottawa, which is five points ahead of the Maple Leafs for second place in the division. New Jersey captured two of four following a 10-game slide but has dropped seven straight on the road, where it last won on Feb. 4 at Columbus. The Devils, who rank last in the Eastern Conference and will miss the playoffs for a club record-tying fifth consecutive season (1983-87), are coming off a 3-2 overtime win at home over the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG Plus (New Jersey), Sportsnet Ontario (Toronto)

ABOUT THE DEVILS (27-33-12): John Quenneville had a game he'll never forget Tuesday, scoring his first NHL goal and adding an assist for the first multi-point performance of his career. "It was a long time coming for him," linemate and close friend Joseph Blandisi, who also notched a tally and an assist, told reporters. "Just to be called up and do it together, it was almost like fate. For me to give the pass to him for his first goal, it couldn't have been scripted any better." Kyle Palmieri has registered seven points over his last five games to move one ahead of Taylor Hall for the team lead with 49.

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (34-23-15): Auston Matthews scored his team-leading 33rd goal against the Blue Jackets, tying Winnipeg's Patrik Laine for tops among all NHL rookies. The 19-year-old is heating up at the right time, tallying twice in his last three contests after enduring a seven-game drought. Eric Fehr, who is one assist shy of 100 for his career, made his debut for Toronto on Wednesday and delivered a team-high four hits over 10 minutes, 44 seconds of ice time in his first game since being acquired from Pittsburgh at the March 1 trade deadline.

OVERTIME

1. Nylander, who became the fourth member of the Maple Leafs to reach the 20-goal plateau this season, has collected three tallies and seven assists during his point streak.

2. Palmieri is two goals and three assists away from 100 for his career in both categories.

3. Toronto C Tyler Bozak notched an assist Wednesday for his 49th point, matching his career high.

PREDICTION: Maple Leafs 4, Devils 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
New Jersey 27-33-10-2 W1 15-14-6-0 12-19-4-2 2-5-1-0 25-28-9-2 10-11-1-2
Toronto 34-23-7-8 W2 18-10-3-4 16-13-4-4 1-0-0-1 33-23-7-7 15-7-2-1
Last Meeting
New Jersey Toronto
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
1/6/17 TOR 4 NJ 2 32 10 1-4 14 30 2-3
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
New Jersey A. Henrique 1
Toronto T. Bozak 2
Goals Player  
New Jersey J. Merrill 1
Toronto T. Bozak 1
Assists Player  
New Jersey A. Henrique 1
Toronto J. Van Riemsdyk 2
Saves Player  
New Jersey K. Kinkaid 8
Toronto F. Andersen 30
Season
Total Points Player  
New Jersey K. Palmieri 52
Toronto A. Matthews 61
Goals Player  
New Jersey K. Palmieri 25
Toronto A. Matthews 34
Assists Player  
New Jersey T. Hall 32
Toronto M. Marner 43
Saves Player  
New Jersey C. Schneider 1537
Toronto F. Andersen 1811
Quickchart Matchup
New Jersey Off vs  Toronto Def
2.28 GF
2.83 GA
27.6 Shots
32.8 Shots
41 PP
37 PK
Toronto Off vs  New Jersey Def
3.06 GF
2.9 GA
32.2 Shots
31.2 Shots
50 PP
43 PK