NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, November 8th (All times eastern)
Florida Panthers (6-4-3) at Toronto Maple Leafs (9-4-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The first-place Toronto Maple Leafs will try to rebound from their worst loss of the season when they host the Florida Panthers tonight at Air Canada Centre.
The Maple Leafs, who are tops in the Northeast Division with 19 points, had won two straight and four out of five heading into Saturday's home test against Boston, but Toronto was destroyed by the Bruins, 7-0. Prior to that lopsided loss against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Leafs' worst defeat this year was a 6-2 setback in Boston on Oct. 20.
Tyler Seguin recorded his first career hat trick to help lift the Bruins to the easy win over their hated rivals. Of course, Seguin was the second overall pick in the 2010 draft -- a selection that Boston earned by trading winger Phil Kessel to Toronto.
Ben Scrivens was pulled in the second period after allowing five goals on 14 shots. Jonas Gustavsson finished the game and made six saves for Toronto, which won four of its last five contests coming in. With James Reimer still out with a head/neck injury, Gustavsson is expected to get the start tonight.
The Maple Leafs will not have forward Tim Connolly tonight and he is expected to miss 10 days to two weeks of action, according the Toronto head coach Ron Wilson. Connolly, who missed the first eight games of the season with an upper-body injury, has one goal and three assists in six tests this season.
Saturday's blowout marked Toronto's first regulation loss on home ice this year and it dropped the Leafs to 5-1-1 as the host.
The Panthers have been struggling of late, losing three straight -- all in shootouts -- and dropping four of their last five games. Florida's most recent setback came Sunday against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning, who earned the 4-3 victory with Dominic Moore's tally in the fourth round of the shootout.
Florida led Sunday's tilt by a 3-0 score just 15:21 into the game, but the Lightning scored twice in the second period and tied the game in the third.
Mike Santorelli, Brian Campbell and Tomas Kopecky each notched a goal for the Panthers. Jose Theodore stopped 34 shots in the loss.
"It's not the way we ever want to play," said Florida right wing Kris Versteeg. "This game was really frustrating, but hopefully we can turn things around with our next couple of games on the road."
The Panthers are scheduled to play two straight and four of their next five games on the road, where Florida is 4-3-0 this season.
Florida goaltender Scott Clemmensen could see his first NHL action of the season tonight after being recalled from the team's AHL affiliate in San Antonio. Clemmensen, who suffered a knee injury in the preseason, had a rehab start for the AHL squad on Saturday and stopped 31-of-32 shots for the Rampage.
Clemmensen went 8-11-7 with a 2.62 goals-against average in 31 games for Florida last year.
Toronto and the Panthers split four meetings last season and the clubs each have four wins over the last eight encounters. Florida has taken eight of 12 overall in the series, but has lost two in a row and three of four in Toronto.
11/08 10:40:37 ET