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Game Day Preview

Tuesday, 11.02.2003 / 12:00 AM / News
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Game Day Preview
GAME: Edmonton Oilers (25-18-6-6) at Toronto Maple Leafs (30-20-4-1).

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

The Toronto Maple Leafs may not win their division, but they could be setting themselves up for a run at the Stanley Cup.

The Maple Leafs look for their sixth-straight win when they take on the visiting Edmonton Oilers.

Toronto started with just four wins in its first 15 games (4-9-2), but has since been one of the NHL's best teams, registering 55 points in 40 games. The Leafs remain well behind the Northeast Division-leading Ottawa Senators, but clearly seem headed toward the playoffs as they sit fifth in the Eastern Conference -- four points ahead of sixth-place Boston.

Inspired by an emotional banner ceremony for former Toronto great Darryl Sittler, the Leafs beat the archrival Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on Saturday for their first five-game winning streak since Dec. 6-15, 2001.

"To watch that banner go up was something," said goaltender Ed Belfour, who signed with Toronto as a free agent in the offseason. "It's great to be a Leaf." Belfour came within 3:45 of his second straight shutout and seventh of the season on Saturday. A leading contender for the Vezina Trophy, Belfour has allowed just five goals in his last four starts, registering a .958 save percentage.

Mats and Alex will be looking to celebrate again tonight.
Graig Abel Photography
Belfour has been getting plenty of support during the win streak, with Nik Antropov totaling nine points while captain Mats Sundin has added six goals, two assists and a plus-4 rating.

Toronto has not won six in a row since the 1999-00 season.

After going 7-3-2-2 in January, the Oilers have dropped two of three since the All-Star break, most recently falling 3-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Edmonton, which is in seventh place in the West, is hoping to get its power play in order.

The Oilers went 0-for-7 with the man advantage on Saturday, including a 37-second two-man advantage late in the first period and a 1:29 two-man advantage midway through the second. They are 1-for-28 on the power play in the last six games.

"We missed the net a couple of times on the five-on-three," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "The one thing you can't do is miss the net far side. We did that -- twice. That's indicative of how our power play has been." STANDINGS (through Feb. 9): Oilers - 62 points, 4th place, 8 PB, Northwest Division. Maple Leafs - 65 points, 2nd place, 11 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS:
Oilers - Anson Carter and Mike York, 20 goals; Carter, 26 assists and 46 points; Mike Comrie, 74 PIM.
Maple Leafs - Sundin, 26 goals; Alexander Mogilny, 34 assists and 56 points; Tie Domi, 112 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 9):
Oilers - Power play: 14.1 percent (37 for 263), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.9 percent (193 for 230), 13th.
Maple Leafs - Power play: 18.1 percent (45 for 248), 10th. Penalty killing: 87.9 percent (247 for 281), 1st.

GOALTENDERS:
Oilers - Tommy Salo (19-17-6, 4 SO, 2.56 GAA); Jussi Markkanen (6-7-0, 2, 2.57).
Maple Leafs - Belfour (25-14-3, 6, 2.07); Trevor Kidd (4-6-1, 3.29).

SEASON SERIES: Oilers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 28; Oilers, 3-2 (OT). At Edmonton, Alberta, Todd Marchant scored with 25 seconds left in the extra period to lift the Oilers. Sundin sat out with a left shoulder injury, ending his consecutive games played streak at 269.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 11-9-3-3 on the road; Maple Leafs - 17-9-2-0 at home.
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