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Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Minnesota Wild Pick & Prediction DEC 4TH 2021

TV: Sportsnet | CBC | BSN
Logo Toronto Maple Leafs
Logo Minnesota Wild

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The Toronto Maple Leafs will be going for a team-record eighth consecutive road win Saturday night when they play the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul, Minn.

The Maple Leafs, who are on a five-game winning streak overall, have won 15 of their past 17 after trouncing the visiting Colorado Avalanche 8-3 on Wednesday behind Auston Matthews' fourth career hat trick.

They will be facing a high-scoring Minnesota team that has won five straight after defeating the visiting New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Thursday night.

Toronto has won seven consecutive road games during three other seasons -- 2002-03, 1960-61 and 1940-41.

"We have a really good sense right now of the way we need to play," Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said. "You just never feel settled or comfortable. You want to keep going and understand what is bringing you success."

Before defeating Colorado, Toronto had completed a four-game trip with the final three of the games on the West Coast.

Sometimes teams struggle in their first game back after a long trip, but the Maple Leafs started quickly on Wednesday. William Nylander scored 4:31 into the game and they led 3-1 after the first period.

"I liked our start for sure," Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. "We thought we needed to start quickly in the game and, obviously, playing with the lead is important."

During practice on Friday, Mitchell Marner and Jake Muzzin collided during a drill. After a heated exchange between the two, Marner left the practice early with a trainer.

"Precautionary," Keefe said. "We'll see how he is in the morning. It's not looking like anything serious at this point. He's going to travel and all that stuff and prepare to play."

As for the exchange, Keefe said: "I was told there was a little bit of an exchange. ... but, especially those two guys, I don't worry about that kind of stuff at all. Things happen out there. ... Our team's really close and that kind of stuff will be shaken off pretty quickly."

Kirill Kaprizov continued his strong play for the Wild with two goals and an assist on Thursday.

"His legs are really good right now," Wild coach Dean Evason said. "He's playing with such pace, and when he does that, he must be so hard to defend."

He has scored three or more points in a game four times this season. He has six goals and 11 assists since Nov. 18 after a slow start. He has nine goals and 19 assists for the season.

"To be honest, I didn't change much," Kaprizov said through a translator. "When I wasn't scoring, I didn't want to change anything. I wanted to stick to my game and that's what I've done. Obviously, it's just going in now, and that's the difference."

Ryan Hartman added a goal and two assists for the Wild on Thursday.

The Wild still were without captain Jared Spurgeon (lower-body injury) and winger Frederick Gaudreau (COVID-19 protocol) on Thursday. It was unclear whether either will be available for the game on Saturday.

Ondrej Kase (upper-body injury) could return Saturday for Toronto.

Toronto assigned goaltender Petr Mrazek (groin) to the Marlies (AHL) on a conditioning loan.

Forward Kirill Semyonov cleared waivers on Thursday, allowing Toronto to terminate his contract so that he can return to the KHL.

--Field Level Media

Toronto Maple Leafs
Minnesota Wild

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Minnesota Wild

Auston Matthews, William Nylander and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist, and Frederik Andersen stopped 26 of 27 shots to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night in Saint Paul, Minn.

Alexander Kerfoot also scored a goal for Toronto, which extended its point streak to eight games (7-0-1). Nylander extended his goal streak to four games.

The Maple Leafs, who won for just the fourth time in the past 13 meetings against the Wild, also improved to 13-4-1 under head coach Sheldon Keefe, who replaced Mike Babcock on Nov. 20.

Ryan Suter scored for Minnesota (10-4-3 at home), and Devan Dubnyk finished with 25 saves.

Toronto took a 1-0 lead at the 5:55 mark of the first period when Kerfoot one-timed a Tavares feed from the edge of the left circle for his seventh goal of the season. It also was Kerfoot's 100th career point.

Nylander made it 2-0 just before the end of the period, picking up a rebound of a Matthews shot near the crease and flipping it past Dubnyk for his 17th goal of the season.

Matthews extended Toronto's lead to 3-0 midway through the second period with a power-play goal. He roofed a cross-ice pass from Nylander from the bottom of the right circle for his 27th goal of the season.

Suter put Minnesota on the board a little over three minutes later with a power-play goal, firing a shot from the left point past a screen by Mikko Koivu and Andersen's blocker side for his sixth goal of the season.

The Wild pulled Dubnyk with 2:20 to go and managed just one shot on goal before Tavares sealed the win with an empty-netter, his 16th tally of the season, with 25 seconds remaining.

--Field Level Media

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