Maple Leafs-Flames Preview
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (23-14-3) at Calgary Flames (24-12-4).
TIME: Friday, 9 p.m. EST.
The Toronto Maple Leafs put their season-high six-game winning streak on the line when they take on the Calgary Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Toronto is opening a three-game trip through western Canada that also takes it to Edmonton on Saturday and Vancouver on Tuesday.
The Maple Leafs beat the Penguins 3-2 in overtime on Monday, spoiling Pittsburgh phenom Sidney Crosby's debut in Canada.
Chad Kilger had two third-period goals and Bryan McCabe scored the winner with 1:02 left in the extra period to give Toronto its longest winning streak since an eight-game run from Nov. 22-Dec. 6, 2003.
McCabe's goal came off a deflected shot from Kyle Wellwood. The 11-year veteran leads NHL defensemen in goals (15), assists (32) and points.
"It's an ugly (goal) but they don't ask how," said McCabe, who ran his point streak to six games (four goals, three assists). "It's a big two points for us."
Kilger has been playing on the top line and found the net for the first time in 14 games.
"Chad's been playing really well with Mats (Sundin)," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "He's the kind of winger I like. He's responsible. He forces the play and he forechecks well. Historically, he hasn't produced a lot of points, but he has terrific skills. (The two goals) is a bonus."
Kilger, who scored a career-high 14 goals for Chicago in 1998-99, has six in 37 games this season.
Toronto plays seven of its next eight games on the road. The Leafs return home from their western Canada swing to face Phoenix next Saturday, then embark on a four-game trip from Jan. 17-23.
Calgary won its third straight Monday, 3-2 over the Blackhawks. Matthew Lombardi scored his second goal in as many games to give the Flames the lead in the third period following some hard work by Darren McCarty.
The veteran winger beat Chicago defenseman Jassen Cullimore to a loose puck behind the net, then fended off Cullimore and slid a pass to a wide-open Lombardi.
"Mac did an awesome job," Lombardi said. "I saw him wheeling down there and he got to the puck first and then battled it out and then a one-handed pass, it was great. I was all alone and he gave me all the time in the world so hats off to him."
The Flames had two forwards knocked out of the game. Marcus Nilson left after being hit by Tuomu Ruutu and Byron Ritchie sprained his MCL after being clipped by Blackhawks defenseman Jaroslav Spacek.
Nilson could play against the Maple Leafs, but Ritchie is expected to miss three to four weeks. Spacek's hit earned him a two-game suspension.
"There's no satisfaction or justice from our standpoint when a player is injured and going to be out for so long," Flames coach Darryl Sutter said.
STANDINGS: Maple Leafs - 49 points, 3rd place, 10 PB, Northeast Division. Flames - 52 points, 1st place, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Darcy Tucker, 17 goals; McCabe, 32 assists, 47 points and 54 PIM. Flames - Jarome Iginla, 16 goals and 32 points; Andrew Ference, 17 assists; Jason Wiemer, 65 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.5 percent (53 for 258), 5th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.7 percent (205 for 254), 23rd. Flames - Power play: 17.1 percent (41 for 240), 16th. Penalty killing: 81.8 percent (202 for 247), 18th.
GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (18-11-2, 3.21 GAA); Mikael Tellqvist (5-3-1, 1 SO, 2.48). Flames - Miikka Kiprusoff (21-10-4, 5, 2.34); Philippe Sauve (3-2-0, 2.62).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 1-0-0-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 13, 2004; Maple Leafs, 4-1. At Toronto, McCabe had two power-play goals and Leafs forwards Tom Fitzgerald and Gary Roberts played in their 1,000th NHL game.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 8-7-2 on the road; Flames - 15-4-2 at home.