Skip to main content

Maple Leafs-Thrashers Preview @NHLdotcom

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been playing well at home, but if they hope to make the postseason, they'll have to start winning again on the road.

The Maple Leafs look to build off a pair of impressive victories and snap a four-game road skid when they visit the Southeast Division-leading Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday.

Toronto (37-29-10) routed Carolina 6-1 on Tuesday, three days after a 4-1 home victory over Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo. The Maple Leafs are tied with the New York Islanders and the Hurricanes for ninth place in the East, two points behind Tampa Bay and Montreal for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference.

"We're a tough team to play against, and if we keep doing that the next six games, we're going to give ourselves a good chance," Toronto captain Mats Sundin said.

Toronto has won a season-high six straight at home, but has not won on the road since a 4-3 shootout victory at New Jersey on March 2. The Maple Leafs haven't won in regulation away from home since a 5-2 victory at Philadelphia, going 1-4-1 since then.

"We've been playing much better at home. We're healthy and we haven't been that in a couple of months," said Chad Kilger, who scored twice.

Boyd Devereaux, Pavel Kubina, Yanic Perreault and Alexei Ponikarovsky also scored Tuesday for the Maple Leafs, who will alternate road and home games over the remainder of the season.

"You're not going to make the playoffs if you're below .500 at home," Sundin said. "Hopefully, it's not too late. Hopefully, we can keep going like this."

Toronto has dropped its last two games against Atlanta (39-27-11) after winning eight straight in the series. The Thrashers have outscored the Maple Leafs 10-2 in its two victories this season after scoring just nine during the skid.

Atlanta's Vyacheslav Kozlov has two goals and five assists while Marian Hossa has four goals and two assists against the Maple Leafs this season.

Kozlov scored twice in Atlanta's 3-2 shootout defeat at Florida on Wednesday. The Thrashers have dropped three straight, but still increased their division lead to three points over idle Tampa Bay.

"It was a pretty good game, but we didn't get the two points," Kozlov said. "They played hard. We should be happy with one point."

Atlanta had won seven straight at home before last Thursday's 5-1 loss to San Jose. The Thrashers have five games remaining, including three at Philips Arena.

"It was definitely a big point," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. "It was two situations: the point we lost and the point we gained. The way we played, we played a strong game. ... We leave this building with one point, and that may be a very big point later."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.