NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 6th (All times eastern)
Florida Panthers (17-16-6) at Toronto Maple Leafs (16-17-6), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The slumping Florida Panthers will try for just their second win in seven games when they end a four-game road trip by visiting the Toronto Maple Leafs for this evening's contest at Air Canada Centre.
The Panthers had briefly been in second place in the Southeast Division, but have lost five of their last six games (1-3-2). Florida is currently third in the division with 40 points and is now five behind Carolina for second place and 15 points in back of Southeast-leading Washington.
Florida picked up a point with a shootout loss its last time out, as it dropped a 6-5 decision in Sunday's wild game in Montreal.
The Panthers led 2-0 after one period only to watch the Canadiens score four unanswered tallies in the second stanza. Florida scored three more times in the third period and sent the game to overtime on Radek Dvorak's tally with 1:38 left in regulation.
However, Andrei Markov tallied the lone shootout goal after a scoreless OT session to give the Canadiens the extra point. After the first five shooters were all stopped, the newly-named All-Star starter Markov slipped a backhand shot through the legs of Florida's Craig Anderson.
Dvorak had two goals for the Panthers, while Jassen Cullimore, David Booth and Brett McLean also scored in the loss. Booth extended his point streak to five games and has four goals and four assists during the run.
Anderson allowed five goals on 45 shots to fall to 1-2-2 in his last five decisions.
The Panthers are 9-11-3 as the visiting club this year and have lost six of their last seven road tests. Following tonight's game, Florida will play its next three on home ice beginning with Thursday's battle against Carolina.
The Maple Leafs have won two of their last three games on the heels of a three-game slide and are coming off Saturday's win over rival Ottawa. Jason Blake had a goal and an assist as Toronto downed the visiting Senators, 3-1, in another edition of the Battle of Ontario.
Alexei Ponikarovsky scored the game-winner while Dominic Moore also lit the lamp for the Maple Leafs. Vesa Toskala made 30 saves in the win.
Toronto, which is fourth in the Northeast Division, is wrapping a four-game homestand tonight. The Leafs have an 8-7-4 record as the host this year.
The Maple Leafs have won four of five and 10 of the last 13 meetings with Florida. The Panthers have taken two of their last three in Toronto, but have lost six of eight overall at Air Canada Centre.
01/06 10:46:33 ET