NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 14th (All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (13-12-6) at Atlanta Thrashers (14-15-1), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs begin a season-long seven-game road trip tonight when they head to Atlanta and Philips Arena to battle the Thrashers.
Toronto got one last look at the Air Canada Centre on Monday, when they rolled over the Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-1. The Maple Leafs' current road trip lasts until December 27 and the club won't play in Toronto until two days later against the New York Rangers.
Against Tampa Bay on Monday, Chad Kilger scored two goals, and Toronto used a four-goal second period to claim victory. Mats Sundin and Nik Antropov each had a goal and assist for Toronto, which has won five of six.
Hal Gill and Kyle Wellwood both had two assists each, and Vesa Toskala stopped 26-of-27 shots. Gill has at least one helper in four straight games and has totaled six in that span.
Toskala has given up two goals or less in each of Toronto's last six games, and is 5-1-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average in that span.
Toronto will be trying to improve on its 6-6-1 road record on this trip, which will also see stops in Montreal, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, New York to battle the Islanders, and Philadelphia.
The last time the Maple Leafs played seven straight road games was from January 12-28, 1999. The club ended that swing 4-2 with a tie.
Meanwhile, Atlanta got a stellar debut out of Mark Recchi on Wednesday, but it wasn't enough as the team fell to Boston, 5-3. Recchi, picked up on waivers from Pittsburgh on Saturday, netted a pair of goals.
Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for Atlanta, and he leads the NHL with 24 goals. He has 19 points (10 goals, 9 assists) in his last 13 games and he has registered at least one point in 21 of 30 games this season.
Johan Hedberg stopped 28 shots in defeat, as the Thrashers dropped their second straight, and Marian Hossa added two assists. Hossa now has three goals and six helpers during a seven-game points streak.
Atlanta is in the midst of a stretch that sees it play seven of nine at home. The Thrashers are 6-7-0 as the host and will play in Ottawa on Saturday before playing their next three in Atlanta.
The Thrashers and Maple Leafs have split two meetings this year, with each team winning on enemy ice. Also, Atlanta's victory came in a shootout.
Toronto's win on November 29 halted a four-game series losing streak and the club has won six of its last eight trips to Atlanta.
12/14 10:48:09 ET