In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs News & Rumors, I’ll look at some of the player movements as the team readies itself to play the scalding-hot New Jersey Devils. The Devils are engaged in an extended NHL winning streak, now up to 13 straight games. They’ll be seeking their 14th straight win against a suddenly under-manned Maple Leafs’ team.
Two nights ago, the Devils’ last victim was the Edmonton Oilers. They won by a score of 5-2. It’s been almost a month since the Devils lost a game. With their new lineup, especially in the defensive pairings, it’s hard to think the Maple Leafs will have much of a chance of winning.
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But the NHL is a strange league. It’s possible that Maple Leafs’ goalie tonight Matt Murray can rise up and stone an opponent. He’s been playing really well over his last three games. It’s possible that the Core Four can rise up offensively. It’s even possible that the team can put together a total defensive effort and carry the game.
Item One: Morgan Rielly’s Receives Bad Injury News
After medical tests yesterday morning, Morgan Rielly got some bad news. Imagining showed that the knee injury he had suffered in Monday’s New York Islanders’ game was more major than hoped. As a result, he was placed on LTIR ( long-term injured reserve).
Given that status, Rielly must remain sidelined for at least 10 games and 24 days after being placed on LTIR. With the two other top defensemen already missing with injuries, Rielly’s status presents quite a significant problem for the Maple Leafs’ defence. But, as head coach Sheldon Keefe notes, it’s the next man up.
Currently, the team is playing without Jake Muzzin (who has a neck injury) and T.J. Brodie (who injured his oblique). Rielly will be missed offensively. He hasn’t scored a goal on the season, but he’s collected 16 assists in his 20 games played this season.
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Rielly also eats up minutes, and he’s averaged 23:00 of TOI. Somehow, his time will be divided between the other three pairings. Those pairings right now are:
First Pairing: Mark Giordano – Justin Holl
Second Pairing: Rasmus Sandin – Timothy Liljegren
Third Pairing: Jordie Benn – Mac Hollowell