November 7, 2003
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (6-4-2-1) at New Jersey Devils (6-3-2-0).
TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Any problems the New Jersey Devils had playing at home earlier this season appear to have been corrected.
New Jersey looks to win its fourth straight at home and fifth in a row overall when the Toronto Maple Leafs make their second visit of the season to Continental Airlines Arena.
Since opening the season with a very uncharacteristic 0-3-1 mark in their first four home games, the Devils have won three straight there -- all by one goal.
Although it squandered another lead Wednesday, New Jersey stretched its win streak to four when Jamie Langenbrunner scored with 42.7 seconds left in overtime for a 3-2 victory over San Jose.
Captain Scott Stevens set up goals by Turner Stevenson and Christian Berglund for the Devils, who have blown leads in all three of their losses this season.
"We're still concerned," Langenbrunner said. "We're not finishing games the way we should."
Martin Brodeur made his 11th straight start for New Jersey, but only needed to make 13 saves. He has faced just 54 shots in his last three games.
Backup goalie Corey Schwab could make his first appearance of the season Friday. Schwab, who spent the 2001-02 season with Toronto, started twice against the Maple Leafs last season and played well in both games -- a 1-0 loss and a 2-0 victory.
Toronto has rebounded from a three-game losing streak, which included an embarrassing 7-1 rout at home by Philadelphia on Saturday, with two straight wins.
Bryan McCabe had a goal and an assist in the third period Tuesday, leading the Maple Leafs to a 4-2 victory over visiting Pittsburgh.
"We still had the sour taste in our mouth from that Philadelphia game," captain Mats Sundin said. "I think we've come back with two really good efforts. We definitely have given a lot better effort."
Although Toronto has been one of the league's worst defensive teams this season, there has been noticeable improvement the last two games.
"Our defense has played really well and the big thing for us is to make sure the forwards come back and play defensively as well," captain Mats Sundin said. "You hope our past two wins builds confidence."
The Leafs should have right wing Mikael Renberg back in the lineup Friday, but will likely be without No. 2 center Joe Nieuwendyk. Renberg has missed eight games with a pulled muscle in his chest, and Nieuwendyk continues to be bothered by back spasms.