Leafs look to save face

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:31 PM ET

NEWARK, N.J. -- It's all about a chance to save face.

With the playoffs out of the picture for the Maple Leafs and after a pair of embarrassing losses this past weekend, coach Ron Wilson is hoping for an inspired effort tonight at the Prudential Center against the New Jersey Devils.

Either that or his team -- losers of four of their past five -- may be run out of the rink.

"At this point, it's up to the players, obviously, to play for pride," Wilson said following the morning skate in advance of tonight's 7 p.m. contest.

"They talked about it yesterday. If you don't come ready to play against the Devils -- they are a team that never takes a game off and they're trying to ramp it up for the playoffs -- it could get embarrassing.

"We've been embarrassed the last couple of games so hopefully that won't happen tonight."

The Leafs are coming off 6-2 and 8-5 losses to Montreal and Philadelphia respectively this past weekend while the Devils broke out of a slump and have won their past two.

With a single point tonight, New Jersey could wrap up first place in the Atlantic Division. A win would allow them to set a franchise record of 50 victories.

Devils coach Brent Sutter said the NHL's winningest goalie, Martin Brodeur, likely will start all three remaining contests for his club. New Jersey will be without its second leading scorer, Patrick Elias, who is nursing a muscle strain in his leg.

The Leafs, meanwhile, will sit forward Brad May so that he can celebrate his 1,000th career game at home tomorrow against the Buffalo Sabres, the team he broke into the league with. May will be replaced in the lineup by Lee Stempniak who was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

The Leafs have fared well against New Jersey this season with a 2-0-1 record which included a wild 6-5 shootout win here in October.


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