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Leafs on the upswing; Rangers struggling @NHLdotcom

The Leafs' Alex Steen shoots the puck past Steve Valiquette during last night's 6-2 victory over the Rangers.
With a four-game winning streak, the wolves who had been howling at the doors of Toronto Maple Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr. and coach Paul Maurice have mercifully been quieted.

Instead, there is talk about how the Leafs may not be as bad as the prognosticators had originally hoped.

The team the Leafs beat by a 6-2 count Thursday night, the New York Rangers, are the ones asking themselves questions today as they prepare to meet the Atlanta Thrashers tonight (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN). New York has dropped two-straight home games and been outscored 9-2 in the process.

Against the Leafs, goalie Henrik Lundqvist struggled and took a seat on the bench for the third period.

"I don't know the reason," Lundqvist said of his recent struggles. "I know I have to play better. ... The first one was a bad rebound. The other three were not bad goals. I need to work harder in practice and get my game back."

Habs feasting on Bruins -- The 4-2 win the Canadiens posted against the Bruins on Thursday night was the seventh-straight against Boston. More bad news for the Bruins, they have been outscored 28-11 in the seven games.

"Maybe we should play more games against them," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We still have four more games against them and I'm sure they'll be ready."

"I don't know what it is," Bruins winger Phil Kessel told the Boston Globe. "Right now, we've been struggling against them."


Sid scoreless, Pens win -- Sidney Crosby was held off the score sheet for only the third time this season in a 3-2 shootout win against Calgary on Thursday night. But that’s doesn’t bother “Sid The Kid” at all. Seeing two points nestled away in the standings are the bigger reward.

"Three games in four nights, coming out here playing back-to-back against two hard-nosed hockey teams, two physical games, it's a great test for our team and we should be proud of that for sure," Crosby said. "To come out of here with four points is big for us."

Quick! Who won for the Kings? -- Sorry, trick question. Jonathan Quick was in goal for Los Angeles last night and his teammates made his NHL debut fairly easy, scoring eight time in a win against the Buffalo Sabres.

Injuries to Jason LaBarbera and J.S. Aubin forced Quick into the net, where he made fast work of the Sabres.

"It was just good timing that I happened to get in tonight," Quick said. "It was a lot easier with the support the team gave me and the way they played in front of me. It was a good game for me to start off my career with. It was a lot of fun."

Trust us kid, it gets tougher.

Thanks, the win will be fine -- In Tampa Bay, Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist was very happy to put a 2-1 win against the Hurricanes in his back pocket. The fact he lost a shutout bid in the game’s waning moments was of little concern.

Thanks to goals from Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis, coupled with Holmqvist’s 23 saves, the Lightning had a nice game for themselves.

"I didn't really care, as long as we win the game," Holmqvist said. "It was a little different game. There was not a lot of action the first period and a half. Then they had some good chances on the power play. The guys played really hard in front of me the whole night long."

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