Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Toronto Maple Leafs

Leafs Head to Steeltown To Face Pens

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (21-8-8-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (9-22-5-3).

TIME: Monday, 7:30 p.m. EST. Points were coming so easily for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and suddenly they're barely coming at all.

Toronto may be without Owen Nolan as it tries to end a four-game winless streak in a matchup with the lowly Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Leafs earned a point in a franchise-record 16 straight games before losing 3-1 to the New York Islanders on Dec. 27. That defeat triggered an 0-2-2 skid, and Toronto barely managed to get a point at home Saturday against last-place Buffalo Sabres.

Matt Stajan scored the tying goal with 3:02 left in regulation as the Leafs had to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the third period. Toronto outshot Buffalo 37-16.

"We were the better team out there, but sometimes it doesn't work your way. We're lucky we got a point," Stajan said.

Nolan left the game early in the first period with a left eye injury after being high-sticked in the face by Buffalo's Jay McKee. Nolan, second on the Leafs with 28 points, dropped to the ice and kicked his skates before being taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

"Apparently, there was blunt trauma to the eye as well as to the cut," said Toronto coach Pat Quinn, who said Nolan was having flashes. "There's no reason to believe that it is real bad, except that he's not seeing things well right now. That indicates the eyeball was probably hit."

The absence of Nolan would leave a big hole in Quinn's offence, but Toronto does have the benefit of facing a Pittsburgh team which has given up a league-high 139 goals.

The Penguins had a season-high 41 shots Saturday, but lost 4-1 at home to the New York Rangers.

"We're creating, but we need to create more," Pens coach Ed Olczyk said. "The only way you do that is you got to go to the front of the net."

One of Saturday's lowlights was Eric Meloche failing to score on a penalty shot as Pittsburgh fell to 1-6-1-1 in its last nine games.

STANDINGS: Maple Leafs - 53 points, 1st place, Northeast Division. Penguins - 26 points, 5th place, 27 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Mats Sundin and Gary Roberts, 16 goals; Sundin, 24 assists and 40 points; Tie Domi and Wade Belak, 79 PIM. Penguins - Rico Fata, 11 goals; Dick Tarnstrom, 13 assists and 20 points; Steve McKenna, 74 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 3): Maple Leafs - Power play: 18.7 percent (36 for 193), 8th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (165 for 195), 15th. Penguins - Power play: 12.6 percent (23 for 182), 27th. Penalty killing: 79.7 percent (136 for 173), 28th.

GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (18-11-5, 4 SO, 2.29 GAA); Trevor Kidd (1-0-1, 0, 2.91). Penguins - Sebastien Caron (5-14-3, 1, 3.61); Jean-Sebastien Aubin (0-1-0, 0, 2.81).

SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 4; Maple Leafs, 4-2. At Toronto, Bryan McCabe had a goal and an assist for the Leafs in a game that featured three fights after the Penguins fell behind 3-1.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 11-6-6-1 on the road; Penguins - 7-9-3-0 at home.
View More