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Wednesday, 18.12.2002 / 12:00 AM / News
Toronto Maple Leafs
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GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (15-14-2-0) at Florida Panthers (9-10-7-4).

TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have not been a very good road team this season.

They will get plenty of chances to improve in that area in the near future.

Toronto hopes to end a three-game road losing streak as it faces the Florida Panthers for the second time this season.
Look for Trevor Kidd to get the start tonight.
Dave Sandford NHLI/Getty Images.


The Leafs opened a three-game trip Monday with a 1-0 loss to the lowly Atlanta Thrashers, as Pasi Nurminen denied all 30 Toronto shots.

"It took us nine minutes to get our first shot tonight," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "Our power play did not execute. We had a few people playing and the rest were brain dead."

Toronto's Ed Belfour played well again Monday despite suffering the loss.

Belfour has surrendered only 10 goals in his last eight games.

While the Leafs have won eight straight home games, Monday's defeat dropped them to 3-7-1-0 on the road. Only Buffalo and Atlanta, each with two, have fewer road wins in the NHL.

The Leafs began a stretch of 17 of 24 games away from the Air Canada Centre on Monday.

Quinn's next victory will be his 543rd, which will move him past Billy Reay for fifth on the career list behind Scotty Bowman, Al Arbour, Dick Irvin and Mike Keenan.

While Toronto has struggled on the road, Florida's four home wins are the fewest in the Eastern Conference.

The Panthers moved to 0-2-1 on a four-game homestand following Friday's 3-3 tie with the New York Islanders.

Kristian Huselius scored with 4:08 left in regulation to help Florida gain it conference-leading seventh tie of the season.

Two of Florida's best offensive players could be out of the lineup Wednesday. Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh is questionable with a finger injury, while a fractured wrist forced right wing Valeri Bure to miss Friday's game.
Without Bure and Ozolinsh, high-scoring center Olli Jokinen will be counted on to carry an even greater load for the Panthers. Jokinen has five goals in his last four games.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 16): Maple Leafs - 32 points, 4th place, 10 PB, Northeast Division. Panthers - 29 points, 3rd place (tied), 7 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Mats Sundin, 15 goals; Alexander Mogilny, 20 assists and 32 points; Tie Domi, 56 PIM. Panthers - Jokinen, 17 goals, 15 assists and 32 points; Peter Worrell, 64 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS(through Dec. 16): Maple Leafs - Power play: 18.8 percent (29 for 154), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 87.2 percent (143 for 164), 4th.

Panthers - Power play: 17.5 percent (25 for 143), 12th (tied). Penalty killing: 80.7 percent (117 for 145), 24th.

GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Belfour (14-9-2, 5 SO, 1.99 GAA); Trevor Kidd (1-5-0, 4.21). Panthers - Roberto Luongo (6-11-2, 1, 3.16); Jani Hurme (3-3-5, 1, 2.52).

SEASON SERIES: Panthers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 23; Panthers, 4-1. At Toronto, Jokinen scored two goals and set up another, and Luongo made 30 saves for Florida.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 3-7-1-0 on the road; Panthers - 4-6-4-1 at home.

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