NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, October 24th (All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (0-6-1) at Vancouver Canucks (4-5-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The good news regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs is that they haven't lost in a week. On the other hand, the badly-struggling team still has yet to notch its first win of 2009-10.
After an extended rest, the wayward Leafs will embark upon a five-game road trip that begins with tonight's clash with the Vancouver Canucks from General Motors Place.
Toronto's 0-6-1 start is the worst in the franchise's long history and its longest losing streak since a seven-game slide from November 25-December 9, 2006. The Maple Leafs have not lost eight in a row since January 10-28, 2006.
The team's latest defeat came in front of a disgruntled home crowd last Saturday, a 4-1 setback to the New York Rangers. Toronto did put up 35 shots on the evening, but managed to sneak only one past Blueshirts netminder Henrik Lundqvist.
"I think we played a few good series," said Leafs forward Jay Rosehill afterward. "We need a few things to go our way, then I think things are going to happen. When it rains it pours."
Ian White had the lone goal for Toronto, which has been outscored by a lopsided 20-6 margin over its past four tilts. Goaltender Joey MacDonald recorded 24 saves between the pipes.
The Maple Leafs will be trying to end their frustrating winless drought in this evening's encounter with a Vancouver club they haven't fared well against in the past. The Canucks have taken the last four meetings between these teams, two of which were held in British Columbia.
Vancouver begins a three-game homestand tonight and returns to GM Place on a positive note, having rallied for a 3-2 victory in Chicago on Wednesday. The Canucks scored twice in the final eight minutes to erase a 2-1 deficit, with Mikael Samuelsson netting the tie-breaking goal with 4:42 left in regulation.
Samuelsson also had an assist on Steve Bernier's power-play tally in the second period to help the Canucks to their fourth win in six games.
Trailing 2-1, Vancouver drew even on Michael Grabner's first career NHL goal, a power-play slap shot from the left circle with 7:44 remaining. Just over three minutes later, Samuelsson took advantage of a Chicago turnover in the offensive zone and zipped a wrister past Blackhawks netminder Antti Niemi to put the Canucks ahead.
"It was a little bit tricky there," said Samuelsson. "I got lucky, it hit my skate. I saw (teammate) Henrik (Sedin) at the other side, but I decided to shoot it."
10/24 10:33:25 ET