Leafs, Ducks seek to end losing streaks
Monday, 10.26.2009 / 7:00 PM
MAPLE LEAFS (0-7-1) at DUCKS (3-5-1)
Season series: These teams meet for the only time during the 2009-10 season. They also met in October last season, with Anaheim prevailing 3-2 in Toronto via the shootout. In a curious move, Leafs coach Ron Wilson replaced starter Vesa Toskala with Curtis Joseph for the shootout, but it didn't work as Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne scored on the Ducks' first two attempts.
Big Story: Will this finally be the night? The Maple Leafs continue to seek their first win of the season and had one of their closer calls Saturday in Vancouver, pressing for the tying goal in the waning seconds before an empty-netter by the Canucks sealed a 3-1 final. Toronto finishes out the month of October with four more road games this week.
Maple Leafs -- Off to the worst start in the franchise's storied history, Toronto was probably happy to hit the road for a five-game road trip that began Saturday. The Leafs got off to another slow start, falling behind 2-0 to the Canucks after one period, but Niklas Hagman scored a power-play goal in the second and their resolve held up until Mason Raymond's empty-netter with 7.9 seconds remaining.
"(A win) was within reach tonight and it was right there,'' defenseman Mike Komisarek said. "We killed a few (penalties) off, but gradually, it's going to come back to haunt you.
"Some nights, from the start, we've (gotten) behind the 8-ball and the team was deflated. Tonight, no matter what happened out there … the guys battled every shift.''
Ducks -- Nobody in the Anaheim dressing room is going to have any sympathy for what the Leafs are going through, because the Ducks are dealing with problems of their own. A six-game homestand has produced a 1-3-0 record so far, including consecutive losses to St. Louis, Dallas and Columbus by a 15-6 margin. They held 1-0 and 2-1 leads against the Blue Jackets but gave up four goals in the second and two more in the third in a 6-4 defeat.
"It's a frustrating time right now with the way things are going," forward Ryan Getzlaf said. "We came out and had a good effort in the first period. We had that lead and let it slip away. It's a hard thing to figure out, but we have to do it and do it quick."
Who's Hot -- Hagman has a goal and an assist in his last two games to tie defenseman Tomas Kaberle for the team lead in scoring with five points. Anaheim forward Joffrey Lupul has three goals in his last two games, while Getzlaf had three assists Saturday to follow up a goal in his previous game.
Injury Report -- Toronto is still waiting to get its regular goaltending tandem of Vesa Toskala and Jonas Gustavsson back. Both players made the trip and Gustavsson could be activated for this game. Forward Phil Kessel, the Leafs' big offseason acquisition, might be about 10 days from making his season debut. Knee surgery will cost defenseman Mike Van Ryn the entire season.
Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere re-aggravated a groin injury on the game-winning goal by Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin on Saturday. Forward Ryan Carter was recently placed on injured reserve with a foot injury. Forward Evgeny Artyukhin isn't hurt, but he will serve the second of a three-game suspension for a slew-foot against Dallas.
Stat Pack -- As Komisarek alluded to, the Leafs have fallen behind at least 2-0 in seven straight games. They've given up the first goal in all eight games this season. Scoring first would be a huge boost to their confidence.
Puck Drop -- A much-needed victory is in the cards for one of these teams, but the other one will end up facing even more adversity and frustration.
-- Brian Hunter, NHL.com