NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 3rd (All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (41-19-3) at Toronto Maple Leafs (25-26-12), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs aim to extend a season-best winning streak while the New Jersey Devils attempt to remain unbeaten since Martin Brodeur's return to action when these two teams face off at the Air Canada Centre this evening.
After sitting out 50 games while recovering from surgery to repair a torn distal biceps tendon, Brodeur was back in the Devils' lineup when the team hosted Colorado last Thursday and promptly posted a shutout. The four-time Vezina Trophy winner has also been stellar in the two games following that victory, and New Jersey has won all three times since their longtime netminder's return.
Brodeur backed up his blanking of the Avalanche with a 15-save showing in a 7-2 rout of Florida on Saturday, then registered the 100th shutout of his brilliant career in Sunday's 3-0 triumph over rival Philadelphia at the Prudential Center. The 36-year-old turned aside all 27 shots he faced to earn his 547th regular-season win, which is just four shy of Patrick Roy for the most by a goaltender in league history.
For his efforts, Brodeur was chosen as the NHL's First Star of the Week for games played between February 23-March 1 on Monday.
The future Hall of Famer will now try to slow down a Toronto club that's on its best roll of the season. The Maple Leafs won their fourth consecutive game with Saturday's 4-3 overtime decision at Ottawa and have recorded a point in their last six outings (4-0-2).
Pavel Kubina was the hero for Toronto against the Senators, as the veteran defenseman tied the contest at 3-3 on a power-play goal with 5:12 remaining in regulation and later netted the game-winning score 33 seconds into overtime.
Jamal Mayers and Tim Stapleton also had goals for the Maple Leafs, with Stapleton notching the first tally of his NHL career, and Curtis Joseph stopped 29-of-32 shots between the pipes.
Despite its recent surge, Toronto currently stands in 11th place in the Eastern Conference and is eight points out of a playoff spot.
The Devils come in tied with Washington for the second-most points in the East and hold a nine-point advantage on second-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division.
New Jersey made a move towards bolstering its blueline for the stretch run on Monday, acquiring seasoned defenseman Niclas Havelid from Atlanta in exchange for prospect Anssi Salmela. The 35-year-old Havelid has played in 336 games over nine NHL seasons and compiled two goals and 13 assists for the Thrashers in 2008-09.
The Devils won all four meetings with Toronto in 2007-08, but the Leafs have taken the first two encounters between the teams this season, including a 3-2 shootout victory at the Air Canada Centre on December 16.
03/03 10:42:59 ET