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Fresh off victory, Leafs look to stymie Devils

by Brian Hunter
DEVILS (5-11-2) at MAPLE LEAFS (6-8-3)


Last 10 --
New Jersey 3-6-1; Toronto 2-6-2

Season series: First of four meetings this season. They split their 2009-10 matchups, each team winning twice on its home ice. New Jersey gained one additional point by virtue of a 2-1 shootout loss in Toronto in the most recent game on March 18. Martin Brodeur won both games he started for the Devils and Jean-Sebastien Giguere did the same for the Maple Leafs, including a 30-save shutout in his debut with the team on Feb. 2.

Big story:
Toronto snapped an eight-game losing streak with a win Tuesday and will try to continue righting the ship by making it two straight. New Jersey, meanwhile, approaches the quarter point of the season in unfamiliar territory and GM Lou Lamoriello isn't happy about it.

"We've seen some good signs and some other signs," Lamoriello told the Newark Star-Ledger. "It's unacceptable to find ourselves where we are. We haven't won any games we didn't deserve to win and we've lost some games we could've won.

"At different times you get teased. We've had good outings and good shifts. We have to get that consistency."

Team Scope:

Devils -- With a chance to put together back-to-back victories for the first time this season, New Jersey was instead shut out for the third time in six games this month, falling 3-0 to Boston and early Vezina Trophy favorite Tim Thomas on Monday. The Devils' 1.83 goals-per-game average is easily the worst in the NHL.

"It's tough because when you're a competitor and you're a team, you want to do well," goalie Martin Brodeur said. "You win one game, lose two, win one, lose two, eventually it will get harder to get back at it. Definitely, it's a tough situation for everyone.

"Hopefully we'll get out of it and laugh about it, but right now it's not much fun."

Maple Leafs -- These days, even when Toronto wins, it loses. Giguere was credited with the victory Tuesday as the Maple Leafs rallied past the Predators, 5-4, but he left in the third period with a minor groin strain that will sideline him up to two weeks. Jonas Gustavsson should get most of the action during that time with AHL recall James Reimer backing him up. At least the Leafs can feel good about their power play, which connected four times in the second period to erase a 4-1 deficit.

"Strange game to say the least," coach Ron Wilson said. "I'm glad we won. It's one of those kinds of games that when you look back on it, hopefully it puts an abrupt stop to the slide we've been in. We can use it for momentum."

Who's hot
-- Kris Versteeg had two of the Maple Leafs' power-play goals Tuesday and has 4 points in the last three games. Mikhail Grabovski has goals in three-straight games and 5 points over that span. Clarke MacArthur, their leading scorer, has 5 assists in the last three games.

Injury report -- Add captain Jamie Langenbrunner (neck) and defenseman Matt Taormina (ankle) to New Jersey's list of injuries, which includes forwards Zach Parise (knee) and Jacob Josefson (hand) and defensemen Mark Fraser (hand), Bryce Salvador (concussion) and Anssi Salmela (knee), all of whom are on injured reserve.

In addition to Giguere being out, Toronto has captain Dion Phaneuf (leg) and forward Colby Armstrong (hand/foot) on injured reserve.

Stat pack
-- Brodeur didn't start either of the Devils' games at Air Canada Centre last season, but he's 3-0-0 with a 1.30 goals-against average in his last three appearances there. … The Leafs' four power-play goals were their most in a game since scoring five in a 6-3 win over the Ducks on Oct. 26, 2009.

Puck drop -- Wilson provided a little comic relief in the aftermath of Toronto's first win since Oct. 26, joking about his reaction to Nashville taking an early 3-0 lead Tuesday with the latter two goals coming 30 seconds apart.

"I tried to leave the building, but contrary to the fire code I think they chained the doors," he said. "I couldn't leave."

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