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Game Day Preview

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
GAME: Phoenix Coyotes (1-3-0-0) at Toronto Maple Leafs (1-3-0-0).

TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost three straight games, and the reasons are fairly obvious -- they're playing without their starting goalie and one of their best defensemen.

Toronto hopes to put the brakes on the losing streak when the Phoenix Coyotes make their only visit of the season to the Air Canada Centre.

The Maple Leafs opened the season in impressive fashion last Thursday, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-0. Since that game, however, Toronto has suffered three straight one-goal defeats to Ottawa, Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers.

Trevor Kidd has allowed 10 goals in his last two games but he hasn't had much help from his team.
Graig Abel Photography
Toronto's Trevor Kidd struggled again Tuesday in place of the injured Ed Belfour, allowing five goals on 28 shots in a 5-4 loss to the Rangers.

Kidd has started the past three games and compiled an .859 save percentage while Belfour has been out with an infected right thumb. Belfour is not expected back until Saturday at the earliest, when Toronto visits Montreal.

"It's frustrating because we are scoring a lot of goals," Kidd said. "But we're giving up chances, and good ones at that."

The Leafs also played Tuesday without defenseman Bryan McCabe, who is listed as day-to-day with a left hand injury. McCabe had not missed a game since March 16, 2000, ending a streak of 179 starts.

Offense certainly hasn't been a problem for Toronto, with eight players scoring to give the Leafs an NHL-high 15 goals.

The Coyotes lost for the third time in four games Tuesday, 2-1 to the Ottawa Senators.

Sean Burke stopped 27 of 29 shots, but the Vezina Trophy finalist from last season suffered his third loss in as many games in 2002-03.

"We knew coming in that they were rested and we were tired, but it's still not an excuse for coming up short," said Burke, who has received four goals of support in his three losses this season.

Phoenix, playing the third game of a five-game road trip, is away from home for nine of its first 12 contests this season.

STANDINGS (through Oct. 15): Coyotes - 2 points, 3rd place (tied), 5 PB, Pacific Division. Maple Leafs - 2 points, 3rd place (tied), 2 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Coyotes - Eight with 1 goal; Tony Amonte, 4 assists and 4 points; Ossi Vaananen, 25 PIM. Maple Leafs - Mats Sundin and Alexander Mogilny, 3 goals; Darcy Tucker, 5 assists; Sundin and Tucker, 7 points; Nik Antropov, 10 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 15):
Coyotes - Power play: 20.0 percent (6 for 30), 13th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.3 percent (29 for 34), 12th.
Maple Leafs - Power play: 32.0 percent (8 for 25), 2nd. Penalty killing: 74.1 percent (20 for 27), 23rd.

GOALTENDERS: Coyotes - Burke (0-3-0, 3.69 GAA); Brian Boucher (1-0-0, 2.00).
Maple Leafs - Kidd (0-3-0, 4.04); Mikael Tellqvist (no appearances).

2001-02 SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 1-0. McCabe had a career-high four points on two goals and two assists, and Tucker added a goal and two assists to lead Toronto to a 6-3 home victory Dec. 11.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Coyotes - 1-2-0-0 on the road; Maple Leafs - 0-2-0-0 at home.
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