By: DAVID KOLB
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (18-13-8) @ NEW YORK RANGERS (28-13-1)
ORIGINAL SIX MATCHUP
The Rangers return from a five-day break tonight, as they take on the Maple Leafs for the first time this season in a matchup of Original Six teams at The Garden. The Blueshirts enter tonight’s game having won five of their past six contests, including a big 5-4 comeback win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday. Toronto is also coming off a bye and has turned its season around with six wins in the last eight contests.
GRAB-BING THE HAT
Michael Grabner recorded a hat trick and had an assist in Saturday’s comeback win against the Blue Jackets. The 29-year-old was named the NHL’s First Star for the week and has seven points (five goals and two assists) in his last two games. The right winger improved his totals to 19 goals and eight assists for 27 points in 41 games and owns an impressive plus-22 rating.
WELCOME, MR. MATTHEWS
Leafs rookie Auston Matthews comes to Broadway for the first time with an impressive resume through 39 games. The first pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has tallied 21 goals with 14 assists for 35 points, including three goals and eight assists on the power play. The 6-foot-2 center is looking to continue his impressive numbers in 2017 and has started this calendar year with three goals and two assists in four games.
HOLDEN THE LINE
Nick Holden continued his stellar play Saturday after recording an assist in 22:01 of ice-time against Columbus. Holden has four points (two goals, two assists) in his last five games and has surpassed all expectations by accumulating eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points. The 29-year-old also has a plus-20 rating in 42 games this season.
STILL MILLER TIME
J.T. Miller extended his point streak (three goals, five assists) to five games Saturday, registering one assist vs. the Blue Jackets. Miller has four assists in three games in January and has produced 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points this season.