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Thursday, March 19th (All times eastern)

Toronto Maple Leafs (29-29-13) at Florida Panthers (34-26-10), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A desperate Florida Panthers club will attempt to break out of an ill-timed losing streak tonight at the BankAtlantic Center against a Toronto Maple Leafs team they've had good success against this season.

The Panthers have hurt their cause for a playoff bid by losing their last four games, including home outings versus fellow Southeast Division members Tampa Bay and Washington over their two most recent tilts. The skid has dropped Florida three points behind Montreal and Carolina, the teams presently occupying the last two postseason seeds in the Eastern Conference, with 12 games to play.

Florida will attempt to get back on track against a Toronto squad it has beaten three times previously in 2008-09, although the last two matchups were decided in overtime. However, the Maple Leafs are 3-0-1 in their last four visits to the BankAtlantic Center.

Toronto has also been playing pretty well as of late, with the Leafs recording their third win in four games with Tuesday's shootout decision over visiting Tampa Bay. That 4-3 triumph followed up a wild 8-6 home ousting of Northwest Division leader Calgary on Saturday.

The Maple Leafs are 8-3-1 over their last 12 games.

John Mitchell recorded the deciding goal in the sixth round of the shootout and also scored in regulation against the Lightning. Jason Blake added a goal and an assist for Toronto, which rallied to tie the contest at 3-3 on Jeffrey Hamilton's tally with 5:31 remaining in regulation.

The Maple Leafs, who still stand 10 points out of a playoff spot in the East, will be playing the middle test of a three-game road trip this evening. Toronto has won five of its last six as the visitor to improve its away mark to 16-16-4 for the season.

Florida owns a 18-10-6 overall home record but has dropped three straight and five of its last seven at the BankAtlantic Center.

The Panthers are coming off a shutout defeat to Southeast front-runner Washington on Tuesday, with Capitals goaltender Jose Theodore amassing 19 saves in his team's 3-0 win.

Florida has not lost five consecutive games since an 0-5-1 skid from October 25-November 8.

03/19 10:35:39 ET


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