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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, March 5th (All times Eastern)

Toronto Maple Leafs (32-23-8) at New York Rangers (33-26-3), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will try once again to record their first win since the Olympic break when they visit the New York Rangers for Wednesday's battle at Madison Square Garden.

Toronto has earned two points in three games since the NHL returned to action, losing consecutive overtime decisions on the road before dropping Monday's 2-1 regulation decision against visiting Columbus.

Despite the recent slide, however, the Maple Leafs are still in playoff position as they currently occupy the first of the two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference. Toronto is three points ahead of eighth-seeded Columbus and four in front of Detroit and Washington.

Toronto surrendered both goals to Columbus on Monday in a span of less than three minutes around the midway point of the second period. The Leafs recorded their only goal when Mason Raymond notched his 17th marker of the season with 4:15 left in the third.

James Reimer came up with 31 saves in defeat. Reimer was playing for the first time since Jan. 25.

"I thought we played a really good game tonight," said Reimer. "I was a little rusty at first, but after those first shots came at me I felt like I battled as hard as I could."

Jonathan Bernier expects to get the start on Wednesday. He is 0-1-2 with a 3.23 goals against average and .920 save percentage in three career games against the Rangers.

Beginning with tonight's tilt in the Big Apple, Toronto is playing six of its next seven games on the road. The Maple Leafs are just 11-12-7 as the visiting team this season.

New York has had Toronto's number so far this season, winning the first two of three scheduled encounters in 2013-14. The last time the clubs met was in Toronto on Jan. 4 when the Rangers slammed the Maple Leafs by a 7-1 score.

The Rangers have won three straight and six of seven overall in this series and Toronto has dropped three in a row at MSG.

New York is 1-2-0 since the end of the Olympic break and is currently occupying the third of the Metropolitan Division's three automatic playoff spots. The Rangers are actually tied with Columbus for that distinction, but hold the current tiebreaker over the Blue Jackets.

After posting a win over Chicago to open their post-Olympic slate, the Blueshirts have lost two in a row and allowed a total of 10 goals during the brief slide.

Backup goaltender Cam Talbot was in net for the win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, while Henrik Lundqvist took the losses against Philadelphia and Boston on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

The Rangers were handed a 4-2 road loss by the Flyers and then suffered a 6-3 setback the next day versus the visiting Bruins. Lundqvist, who helped lead Sweden to a silver medal at the recent Sochi Olympics, surrendered 10 goals on 64 total shots over the two losses this weekend.

Lundqvist is expected to be back in net on Wednesday and is 12-7-4 with a 2.65 GAA and .905 save percentage in his career against Toronto.

Brad Richards, Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller scored for the Rangers in Sunday's home loss to the Bruins. Boston, meanwhile, had 10 different players record points in the game, and completed a season series sweep of the Rangers. Boston went 3-0 against New York this season to sweep the season series over its Original Six rival for the first time since 1982-83.

"They worked hard, but their goals were unbelievable with the bounces they got -- a couple of deflections and a post and in," Lundqvist said.

The Rangers are just 15-15-3 as the home team this season.

03/05 10:48:45 ET