Welcome to the Official Site of Leafs Nation - MapleLeafs.com
MapleLeafs.com proudly sponsored by ROGERS™ Welcome to the Official Site of Leafs Nation - MapleLeafs.com
Maple Leafs

Game Preview

Leafs Look For Second Straight Road Win

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM


Share with your Friends

Leafs Look For Second Straight Road Win
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Atlanta Thrashers

RELATED STORIES: Henny's Headlines | Schenn's Improved Play | Leafs 4 Predators 3
RELATED VIDEO: Henny & Millen Preview | Tim Hunter | Wayne Primeau | Nik Antropov |
DISCUSS IT ON:  Leafspace  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

MAPLE LEAFS (17-24-9) at THRASHERS (21-20-7)

Update: Vesa Toskala will start in net for the Leafs and Ondrej Pavelec starts for the Thrashers.

Last 10: Toronto 3-7-0; Atlanta 3-4-3

Season Series: Second of four meetings this season. Alexei Ponikarovsky scored twice in a span of 28 seconds to cap a five-goal second period as Toronto won 5-2 at the Air Canada Centre on Dec. 7.

Big Story: Atlanta finds itself at a crossroads -- after getting off to the best start in franchise history, the Thrashers gradually fell back to the Eastern Conference pack and begin play Tuesday tied for 11th with Philadelphia, three points out of a playoff spot. Games like Monday's won't help any in their quest to secure just the second postseason berth in franchise history -- playing a Florida team they were battling for position in the standings, Atlanta was blanked 1-0.

Team Scope:

Maple Leafs: This signifies the midway point of a five-game road trip for Toronto. It didn't get off to a flying start with a 6-1 loss in Washington on Friday, but the Maple Leafs showed some gumption Monday in Nashville. After building a 3-0 lead and allowing it to slip away at the hands of the Predators, they pulled out the 4-3 victory on the strength of a Phil Kessel goal with 5:48 remaining.

"It was a huge goal for our hockey club," teammate Matt Stajan said. "Playing with Phil during this stretch he was pressing. He was trying his best to score that goal and get rolling again.

"It was big goal for him and the team. We know he is going to get his fair share of chances. Hopefully, this will get him rolling."

Possessing an arsenal of snipers that includes captain Ilya Kovalchuk, fellow Russians Vyacheslav Kozlov, Maxim Afinogenov and Nik Antropov, fourth-year veteran Rich Peverley and rookie Evander Kane, it's no surprise Atlanta is tied with defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh for fifth in the League averaging 3.02 goals per game. But nobody could get a puck past Florida's Tomas Vokoun on Monday, and as a result the Panthers jumped a point ahead of the Thrashers in the standings.

"Good effort? Yeah, but without goals, you get no points," Kovalchuk said. "So what's the difference?"

Who's Hot:
Toronto rookie Tyler Bozak has a goal and four assists in his first five NHL games. … Kovalchuk, who is 10th in the League in scoring with 53 points, had a three-game goal streak snapped Monday. He also had three assists during that span for Atlanta.

Injury Report:
Forwards Mikhail Grabovski (broken wrist) and Wayne Primeau (knee) are on injured reserve for the Leafs. Defenseman Mike Komisarek could return from an upper-body injury within the next week. … Thrashers defenseman Christoph Schubert missed Monday's game with a lower-body injury. Goalie Kari Lehtonen is on the mend following back surgery and defenseman Mark Popovic has been out with a broken foot.

Stat Pack:
Toronto is 6-1-1 against Atlanta since Nov. 29, 2007. … Ondrej Pavelec, who figures to get the start for the Thrashers after Johan Hedberg played Monday, allowed all five goals on 22 shots in the earlier matchup this season with the Leafs, and was pulled after that second period. … Vesa Toskala, the winning goalie that night, is 6-0-2 with a 2.09 goals-against average in his career against Atlanta.

Puck Drop:
Toronto is nine points out and has five teams it would have to climb over in order to get into the top eight, but coach Ron Wilson isn't conceding anything yet. With a few days in Florida coming up to end this road trip, he's hoping the positive feelings from Monday's win carry over.

"We really persevered," Wilson said. "We hope we can turn this into something, but we have a tough week ahead with three more road games."
2009-2010 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 30 '10 ATL 3 at TOR 2 N. Antropov
Mar 25 '10 TOR 2 at ATL 1 - OT M. Grabovski
Jan 19 '10 TOR 3 at ATL 4 I. Kovalchuk
Dec 07 '09 ATL 2 at TOR 5 M. Grabovski
T. Kaberle5153742-81421
M. Stajan50142337-22862
A. Ponikarovsky51181533+13641
N. Hagman50181230+02141
P. Kessel39151429-11133
L. Stempniak51131427-71841
J. Blake51101626+02422
M. Grabovski4271825-1411
I. White5181624+53511
F. Beauchemin5141620-91731
N. Kulemin479918+2600
J. Mitchell313811-73110
L. Schenn48279+33700
J. Finger28279-111600
W. Primeau35235+12000
J. Mayers39145-67400
T. Bozak6145+0201
M. Komisarek34044-94000
C. Gunnarsson12044+4400
V. Stalberg17213-5600
C. Orr51123-49501
R. Wallin35033-71800
G. Exelby31033-44000
J. Rosehill9112-22900
C. Hanson6011-2400
J. Tlusty2000-2000
J. Gustavsson279-10-7727292.98.901
V. Toskala247-11-2796293.64.874
J. MacDonald61-4-0171573.20.892
I. Kovalchuk43302656+345103
M. Afinogenov49162642-83031
R. Peverley49152439-72876
N. Antropov45122638+172031
T. Enstrom4943438+81610
P. Kubina4852025+93221
V. Kozlov4981523-133131
Z. Bogosian4991120-94220
B. Little4661319-7420
T. White4441418-152011
E. Kane4811617+14303
C. Armstrong487916+24301
M. Reasoner4941014+21600
R. Hainsey4731013-91600
C. Thorburn49369+44500
J. Slater28538-31300
E. Boulton41268+17510
C. Schubert44257-76300
A. Salmela24134+22200
M. Popovic17213-4400
B. Valabik16022+02700
O. Pavelec3112-12-4959953.45.905
J. Hedberg2510-8-3576542.60.913
torontomapleleafs.com is the official Web site of the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club. The Maple Leafs and mapleleafs.com are trademarks of MLSE.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 MLSE and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Terms Of Use | Contact Us | Employment Opportunities | Advertise on mapleleafs.com | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | NHL.com Terms of Use | Site Map