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36-35-11
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46-29-7

36 SOG
32 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
TOR
NJD
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Maple Leafs-Devils Preview

Sunday, 01.20.2008 / 5:00 PM

Associated Press

It's been almost 10 months since the New Jersey Devils have lost three straight games in regulation.

On Sunday, the Devils will try to avoid that from happening as they look to get back on track at home against the surging Toronto Maple Leafs.

As New Jersey (26-17-3) continues to hold its ground in the competitive Atlantic Division, where all five teams are separated by seven points, the Devils find themselves in a scenario they haven't had to deal with during the past two months - losing two straight, both at home.

The most recent defeat was 2-1 against Florida on Friday night, when the Devils allowed two third-period goals and dropped to 13-7-0 at the new Prudential Center.

"This was a real bad loss for us. Up 1-0 in your building, you have to find a way to squeak it out," New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur said.

While New Jersey has lost two straight for the first time since Dec. 9-10, it hasn't lost three consecutive games in regulation since Mar. 17-22. The Devils, who were 0-3-1 from Oct. 18-27, haven't lost three in a row at home since dropping five straight from Feb. 24-Mar. 17.

Sunday's contest will close out a three-game homestand for New Jersey, which is in a stretch of playing 15 of 18 in its new home. New Jersey beat Toronto 3-2 there on Nov. 2 in the teams' only meeting this season.

On Friday, Travis Zajac scored for the Devils, who also lost 3-1 to the New York Islanders on Wednesday. The Devils went 0-for-5 on the power play Friday and are 0-for-12 with the man advantage in their last three games after going 10-for-22 in their previous five contests.

Brodeur made 25 saves Friday, but lost his second in a row after winning five straight. He could bounce back Sunday against Toronto - he made 26 saves against the Maple Leafs in November, and is 13-14-1 with seven ties and a 2.47 goals-against average versus them.

Toronto and Vancouver are the only teams Brodeur, second all-time with 518 wins, has a sub-.500 record against in his career.

Though New Jersey has won three of the last five meetings with the Maple Leafs, Toronto (19-21-8) comes in having won three in a row following a five-game slide.

The Maple Leafs won 4-2 over Buffalo at home on Saturday. Toronto has 12 goals during its winning streak after scoring just eight in its skid.

"We feel a little better about ourselves," said Toronto coach Paul Maurice, whose team is tied with the Sabres for last in the Northeast Division.

Alexander Steen and Nik Antropov each had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs, who won four consecutive games from Nov. 29-Dec. 6.

"The confidence and the positive mood is starting to come back in this dressing room," said Steen, who has two goals in two games and had one against New Jersey in November.

Vesa Toskala could be back in goal Sunday after making 24 saves for his third straight win Saturday. Toskala's only previous appearance against the Devils came in his team's loss earlier this season.

2007-2008 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 08 '08NJD 2 at TOR 1Z. Parise
Mar 04 '08NJD 4 at TOR 1B. Gionta
Jan 20 '08TOR 2 at NJD 3J. Madden
Nov 02 '07TOR 2 at NJD 3Z. Parise
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
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