New York Rangers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 12th 2023


Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares faced his former team on Monday and reached elite status by notching his 1,000th career point off a frenetic sequence in the final seconds of regulation.

However, he did not get to fully celebrate with the two points that go along with a win.

The New York Rangers would like to keep Tavares from racking up any more points and prevent the visiting Maple Leafs from getting a victory when the teams meet on Tuesday.

Tavares became the 98th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career points when he produced a goal and an assist in Toronto’s 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Monday in Elmont, N.Y.

Hearing boos from fans who watched him leave the Islanders and sign with the Maple Leafs as a free agent in July 2018, Tavares scored his 435th career goal in the second period. He reached the 1,000-point mark by getting the primary assist on Morgan Rielly’s game-tying goal with seven seconds left in the third.

After William Nylander’s shot bounced off Tavares, Rielly pounced on the loose puck and scored. The euphoria of getting the game into overtime was negated by goaltender Ilya Samsonov getting beaten by the Islanders’ Bo Horvat 46 seconds into the extra session.

“It has been a great ride so far, great journey, you want to celebrate in a win, but I’m very proud of it,” Tavares said of his milestone. “In certain ways, you are happy it has happened and you can move forward and there will be a time and place to soak it in a little more.”

Tavares recorded his sixth multi-point game of the season on a night when the Maple Leafs gained a point for a season-high sixth straight game (4-0-2). Toronto also was involved in a one-goal game for the ninth time in 10 games.

The Rangers have seven victories in their past 10 games. They are coming off a significantly improved showing in a 4-1 home win over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night after allowing 15 goals in the previous three games.

New York avoided its first three-game losing streak of the season after getting outscored by a combined 10-2 margin in four-goal losses at Ottawa and at Washington. Sunday marked the sixth time the Rangers won by at least three goals, and it was the first time they allowed one goal or none since a 3-1 win at Philadelphia on Nov. 24.

The Rangers allowed 26 shots on goal vs. Los Angeles, their lowest total permitted in 13 games, and they scored twice in the third period. Mika Zibanejad netted a power-play goal in the second and Jimmy Vesey got the game-winning goal before Jonny Brodzinski and Will Cuylle scored nearly four minutes apart in the third.

Artemi Panarin got an assist to extend his season-opening home point streak to 11 games. Vincent Trocheck collected three assists, giving him five goals and 16 assists in his past 16 contests.

“I think the last few games had kind of been leaning (toward a slump), there were some negative things creeping into our game,” Trocheck said. “We all knew it and we recognized it. I think that’s the biggest thing is just making sure that you can spot it whenever it’s coming and get to it quickly.”

–Field Level Media

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