NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 19th (All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (18-21-5) at New York Rangers (26-18-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers will try to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs in tonight's Original Six battle at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers have lost their last two games and New York is in danger of losing three straight for the first time since Oct. 11-18.
New York dropped a pair of 3-2 decisions to Montreal and Philadelphia over the weekend, giving the Blueshirts three regulations losses in their last four outings (1-3-0).
The Rangers enter tonight with 55 points, placing them third in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto has also lost its last two games on the heels of a four-game winning streak, but the Maple Leafs were able to record a point in their last outing on Saturday when Calgary posted a 2-1 shootout win at Air Canada Centre.
Tonight marks the season series finale between the Rangers and Leafs, who met on three occasions back in October. New York has taken two straight after losing the first encounter of the year on home ice back on Oct. 15.
The Rangers have taken three of four and five of seven overall in this series and Toronto has dropped three out of five in the Big Apple.
New York is 11-10-2 as the host this season, while the Maple Leafs have a 9-11-1 road record.
Olli Jokinen scored in the fourth round of a shootout to help lift the Flames to Saturday's road win in Toronto. Jokinen beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere in the top left corner after a nice deke move, skating in on the right side but moving left for the score.
Mikhail Grabovski scored Toronto's only goal on Saturday, as he notched a power-play tally with 13 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. Giguere also had 32 saves for the Maple Leafs.
Jonas Gustavsson is expected to start tonight in net for the Leafs, while Giguere is likely to get the call for tomorrow's home tilt against his former team, the Anaheim Ducks.
Colby Armstrong (undisclosed) and Fredrik Sjostrom (charley horse) are questionable for tonight's game and fellow Toronto forward Kris Versteeg (upper body) is probable.
The Rangers fell behind 3-0 in Sunday's loss to visiting Philadelphia, but New York mounted a valiant comeback before falling in regulation. Newcomer Wojtek Wolski and rookie Derek Stepan in a span of 2:24 in the third period to make a game of it for New York.
Wolski, acquired from Phoenix last week, accepted a Mats Zuccarello pass in the neutral zone, drove down the left wing and fired a shot from below the circle that eluded Philadelphia goalie Brian Boucher at 9:13. Stepan lit the lamp off another feed by Zuccarello to pull New York within a goal at 11:37.
The Rangers called Martin Biron to the bench in favor of an extra skater late in regulation, but couldn't net the equalizer.
"We had a lot of chances," said New York head coach John Tortorella. "The second half of the game we had a lot of chances, especially in the third period. We just didn't finish."
Biron stopped 24 shots for the Rangers, who are expected to return to No. 1 goaltender Henrik Lundqvist tonight.
Rangers sniper Marian Gaborik has gone eight straight games without a goal and was benched for a significant portion of the second period on Sunday. Gaborik has 11 goals and 13 assists in 33 games this year after leading New York with 42 goals and 86 points in 2009-10.
Gaborik has two goals and seven points in 10 career games against the Leafs.
01/19 10:39:09 ET