|TOR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
|NJD||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (32-32-6) at New Jersey Devils (35-26-9).
TIME: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The slumping Toronto Maple Leafs try to get back on track and seek to defeat the New Jersey Devils for the fifth straight time when the teams meet in a pivotal Eastern Conference matchup.
The Leafs have lost four of six games, are without their starting goaltender and have to pass four teams in the standings to make the playoffs, but that doesn't faze captain Mats Sundin.
"We're still alive," he said following a 6-2 loss to Montreal on Saturday. "We have another game (Sunday) night and we'll have to bounce back."
With 70 points, 12th-place Toronto trails Montreal by seven points with 12 games remaining for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
New Jersey, currently in seventh place with 79 points, leads a pack of seven teams separated by 11 points competing for just two playoff berths.
Making the stretch run tougher for the Leafs is the absence of veteran goalie Ed Belfour, out for the rest of the season due to a back injury.
Mikael Tellqvist has started the last eight games for the Leafs and gone 4-4-0 with a 2.98 GAA, but he allowed 11 total goals in two road losses to Montreal, 5-1 on Thursday and 6-2 on Saturday.
Toronto is just 2-12-2 in its last 16 contests away from home.
"There's not much left to talk about when it comes to what we've got to do and what we're looking for and how we're going to do it," said Sundin, who scored both goals Saturday.
Sundin has two goals in three games versus the Devils this season.
New Jersey is just 2-4-1 in its last seven games, but snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over Boston on Friday.
Scott Gomez had a goal and an assist and backup goalie Scott Clemmensen stopped 25 shots for his third win this season and first since Oct. 29.
"When I got to play a couple of weeks ago, that kind of helped me get my feet wet again," Clemmensen said. "With the way things are going, this was a big game for us."
Brian Gionta, Zach Parise and Paul Martin also scored for New Jersey.
Gionta's 39 goals in 2005-06 surpass the 37 he recorded in his first three seasons combined. He has a goal in each of his last three games, and in four of his last five.
STANDINGS: Maple Leafs - 70 points, 4th place, 32 PB, Northeast Division. Devils - 79 points, 3rd place, 11 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Darcy Tucker, 24 goals; Tomas Kaberle, 51 assists; Bryan McCabe, 63 points and 108 PIM. Devils - Gionta, 39 goals and 68 points; Gomez, 39 assists; Jason Wiemer, 88 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.5 percent (90 for 439), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.6 percent (343 for 431), 24th. Devils - Power play: 17.0 percent (65 for 383), 22nd. Penalty killing: 81.6 percent (249 for 305), 20th.
GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Tellqvist (10-10-2, 2 SO, 3.00 GAA); Jean-Sebastien Aubin (0-0-0, 0.00). Devils - Martin Brodeur (32-22-7, 5, 2.65); Clemmensen (3-4-2, 3.35).
SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 3-0.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 4; Maple Leafs, 4-2. At Toronto, Alexei Ponikarovsky scored twice and Belfour made 36 saves in just the Leafs' second win in 12 games. Gionta notched his 31st goal of the season and Jamie Langenbrunner had two assists for the Devils.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 11-20-4 on the road; Devils - 22-10-3 at home.
|Mar 26 '06||TOR 4 at NJD 3|
|Feb 04 '06||NJD 2 at TOR 4|
|Dec 31 '05||TOR 6 at NJD 3|
|Dec 26 '05||NJD 1 at TOR 2|