Leafs Visit Panthers Tonight
MAPLE LEAFS (9-6-0) at PANTHERS (4-6-4)
TV: SNET-O, FS-F
Last 10: Toronto 7-3-0; Florida 3-3-4
Season series: This is the first of three games this season. The Panthers swept the four-game season series in 2011-12 and maintain a five-game winning streak at home against the Maple Leafs.
Big story: Toronto has the second-best road record in the Eastern Conference at 6-2-0, but will try to avoid a sixth straight loss on the Panthers' ice. Meanwhile, Florida tries to snap a four-game losing streak, including three consecutive defeats in overtime. Monday marks the final installment of the Panthers' four-game homestand, so they seek a much-needed win before a trip Thursday and Friday through Pennsylvania.
Maple Leafs: Some teams would begin to worry if their starting goalie was going to be out for at least a week, but the Maple Leafs are plugging right along. Backup goalie Ben Scrivens made his case for consideration as a viable starting option for coach Randy Carlyle with his first NHL shutout in a 3-0 victory Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.
But Scrivens isn't getting caught up in the hype of possibly getting more playing time whenever starter James Reimer returns from a lower-body injury. Instead, he's focused on playing his game as simply one member of a cohesive unit.
"Any goalie will tell you a shutout is a team stat, and the guys definitely helped me out big time [Saturday]. They let me see the puck, they cleared away second chances so much of the credit goes to them," Scrivens told NHL.com.
Panthers: The silver lining of losing three straight in overtime is that Florida is in the midst of a three-game point streak, but it must improve upon a League-worst 3.79 goals-against average if the Stanley Cup Playoffs are going to be part of the picture this season. With an 18-10 aggregate score over their four-game losing streak, including two shutouts, the Panthers are at a crucial point of their season.
While Florida hung with the Lightning in a back-and-forth affair Saturday, it eventually fell 6-5 in overtime. Coach Kevin Dineen was clearly unimpressed with another one-point effort from his team when he addressed reporters following the loss.
"You're not going to get in the playoffs with 48 points. You can't try to get a point a game; it's just not going to work. We've got to find a way a more complete effort and end up with two points," he said.
Who's hot: For Toronto, Scrivens has a win and a .959 save percentage in three appearances since filling in for the injured Reimer last Monday. ... Rookie forward Jonathan Huberdeau has three goals over his last three games for Florida.
Injury report: Besides Reimer, the other Maple Leafs dealing with injuries are forwards Matt Frattin (lower-body), Joffrey Lupul (broken arm) and Carl Gunnarsson (strained hip). ... Panthers forward Kris Versteeg missed his second consecutive game Saturday with an upper-body injury. Defensemen Ed Jovanovski (knee) and Michael Caruso (wrist) and forward Scottie Upshall (ankle) are on injured reserve. Forward Sean Bergenheim (undisclosed) has yet to play a game for the Panthers this season.