BY: DAVID KOLB
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (8-8-3) @ NEW JERSEY DEVILS (9-6-3)
HAPPY TO BE HOME
The New Jersey Devils return home after going 1-3-0 on their four-game Western Conference road trip. They have lost in three consecutive games for the first time in 2016-17. They return home tonight to face the Toronto Maple Leafs, however, will be without a ton of offensive firepower, as they will be missing Taylor Hall (knee surgery), Kyle Palmieri (upper body) and Michael Cammalleri (personal).
The Devils are 4-0-0 at home against Toronto since the 2013-14 season, and have protected their home ice well this season, going 6-0-1 at Prudential Center. Meanwhile, the Leafs are 1-9 on the road this season with their only win coming on Nov. 3 in Buffalo.
Toronto rookie, Auston Matthews has seen a slowdown in his production since his sensational start to his NHL career. The freshman remains dangerous, however, he has only one point in his past five games, and hasn’t scored a goal since Oct. 25 versus Tampa.
With their injuries, the Devils are short offense, and it has reflected in their game, including on the power play that is now 0-for-29 in their last nine games. The Devils enter tonight’s game ranked 28th in the NHL with the man advantage, at 11.9 percent.
The Maple Leafs have surprised many, as they sit at .500 (8-8-3), 19 games into the season. They are coming off a tight 2-1 loss to the Hurricanes in Carolina Tuesday night and have lost two in-a-row, including another 2-1 game, falling to the Montreal Canadiens Saturday.