NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 10th (All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (20-24-9) at Florida Panthers (25-19-8), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Feeling the heat from within the Toronto organization, netminder Vesa Toskala will try to turn in another solid outing tonight in the Maple Leafs' road clash with the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center.
Coming off a 33-win campaign a season ago, Toskala is just 18-17-8 this year with a poor 3.31 goals against average and .884 save percentage. He endured criticism from general manager Brian Burke for his play early last week and also had his practice habits questioned by head coach Ron Wilson.
Toskala brushed it all aside to halt 31 saves in Saturday's 5-2 win over bitter rival Montreal on Saturday. The 31-year-old goaltender improved to 3-0-2 over his last five starts despite allowing 17 goals in that span. In his career versus Florida, Toskala is 4-2-1 with a 2.89 GAA.
In Saturday's win, Jason Blake scored twice in the third period, while Luke Schenn notched his first career goal. Nikolai Kulemin and Jeff Finger also lit the lamp for the Maple Leafs, who snapped a two-game skid but lost defenseman Mike Van Ryn in the process. Van Ryn left Saturday's contest in the second period with a lower-body injury and is out for tonight's game.
Toronto has now split the first two games of its current four-game road trip and rebounded from a 5-0 setback in Buffalo last Wednesday. The Leafs are 11-14-3 as the visiting club this season.
The Panthers put a three-game home winning streak on the line tonight versus Toronto. However, Florida had a two-game overall winning streak end on Saturday thanks to a 3-1 setback in Washington on Saturday.
David Booth scored his team-leading 20th goal of the season and the third-year forward hit the 20-goal mark for a second straight season. He notched a career-best 22 tallies a season ago.
Richard Zednik and Cory Stillman had the assists for the Panthers, who trail Carolina by a point for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. Tomas Vokoun allowed two goals on 38 shots and is 4-1-2 with a 1.84 GAA lifetime versus the Maple Leafs.
Florida, 13-6-5 at home this year, will visit the Hurricanes on Thursday before returning home for five straight.
The Panthers will host the Maple Leafs for the first time this season tonight after winning both matchups in Toronto. Florida has lost three straight and five of its last six as the host versus the Leafs.
02/10 10:40:51 ET