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Gameday Preview

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (11-9-3-3) at Toronto Maple Leafs (13-12-2-0).

TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Pittsburgh Penguins look to snap their season-worst, four-game losing streak when they begin a five-game road trip against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Pittsburgh won a season-high four straight from Nov. 22-29, but has since lost four in a row, including a 6-3 defeat to the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Mario Lemieux scored his 13th goal of the season, extending his point streak to 10 games (five goals, 14 assists), but it wasn't enough as the Penguins dropped into fourth place in the Atlantic Division.

Mats Sundin will try and match Mario Lemieux offensively.
Graig Abel Photography
"We just made mistakes and shot ourselves in the foot," Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Moran said. "We've had more turnovers and allowed more odd-man breaks. Odd-man breaks in this league turn into goals."

Pittsburgh is tied with the New York Rangers for the third-most goals scored in the Eastern Conference with 80, but has been outscored 16-7 during its four-game skid.

The rest of the Pens' road trip is on the West Coast, with games at San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Phoenix.

Toronto rebounded from a 4-2 loss at the Islanders on Friday with a 1-0 win over the Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

Goalie Ed Belfour made a season-high 38 saves for his league-leading fifth shutout, and Travis Green scored as the Leafs won for the fifth time in six games.

Belfour, who signed with Toronto in the offseason after Curtis Joseph left for Detroit, got off to a 1-3-1 start that drew boos from the home crowd, but fans have chanted his name over the last month.

"I didn't play as well as I could when I first started here," Belfour said. "The fans loved and supported Curtis. You know they are going to give the guy that comes in here a little bit of a hard time. It was to be expected.

I'm just thankful they are supporting me now and that I'm appreciated."

Toronto has won six straight at home, while Pittsburgh has won just two its last eight on the road.

Penguins - 28 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Atlantic Division.
Maple Leafs - 28 points, 3rd place (tied), 14 PB, Northeast Division.

Penguins - Alexei Kovalev, 15 goals and 32 PIM; Lemieux, 36 assists and 49 points.
Maple Leafs - Alexander Mogilny and Mats Sundin, 12 goals; Mogilny, 17 assists and 29 points; Tie Domi, 51 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 8):
Penguins - Power play: 30.2 percent (39 for 129), 1st in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (106 for 126), 12th.
Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.3 percent (27 for 133), 5th. Penalty killing: 87.0 percent (127 for 146), 5th.

Penguins - Johan Hedberg (8-7-3, 2.93 GAA); Jean-Sebastien Aubin (3-5-0, 1 SO, 2.70).
Maple Leafs - Belfour (12-7-2, 5, 2.08); Trevor Kidd (1-5-0, 4.21).


LAST MEETING: Oct. 14; Penguins, 5-4. At Toronto, Pittsburgh's No. 1 line of Lemieux, Kovalev and Aleksey Morozov combined for four goals and five assists as the Penguins avenged a 6-0 home loss to the Leafs four days earlier.

Penguins - 4-4-2-2 on the road;
Maple Leafs - 10-7-1-0 at home.
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