The Toronto Maple Leafs are mired in their longest losing streak of the season, but now they're hoping to take advantage of an Atlanta team struggling just to score a goal.
The Maple Leafs will try to end a four-game slide on Thursday when they visit the slumping Thrashers.
Toronto lost 4-3 to Montreal in a shootout on Tuesday, falling for the seventh time in eight games. Mats Sundin scored his team-record 400th goal with 17.6 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, but the Maple Leafs fell to 8-11-6 after missing the playoffs by just one point last season.
"We have as good a team this year on paper that we had last year," Sundin said. "Are we underachieving? Is that what it means? I guess so. We have to find a way to be better."
The Maple Leafs did earn a point for the first time during their four-game slump and managed more than two goals for the first time since their last win, a 3-0 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa Senators. Still, they failed to score a power play goal for the third straight game and allowed at least three goals for the fourth straight.
"There are fingers being pointed at everybody, and as players we look at ourselves and we have to be better," Sundin said. "We can't blame anyone else.
"We're the ones out there playing. There's no one else on the ice. We just have to be better as a group if we want to make the playoffs."
The Maple Leafs will try to end their losing streak against a Thrashers team that has also been slumping. Atlanta (11-12-0) was shut out for a second straight game on Saturday, falling 5-0 to Pittsburgh.
The Thrashers, who were coming off a 3-0 loss to New Jersey the previous night, have gone 132 minutes, 12 seconds without a goal.
"We will sit down and look through both these games to try to learn from it," interim coach Don Waddell said. "We have lost two games in a row. Obviously, we have hit a little bit of a wall here."
Atlanta has dropped two in a row for the first time since Waddell took over on Oct. 17. Before the shutout losses, the Thrashers had scored at least three goals in 10 of 11 games.
"This is a league where it's a lot easier to play with a lead," center Todd White said.
The Thrashers have won their last four games against the Maple Leafs after losing 10 of 11 in the series. They beat Toronto 5-4 in a shootout on the road on Oct. 23 in the only meeting this season.
Alexei Ponikarovsky tied the game with 50 seconds left in regulation to earn a point for the Maple Leafs in that game. However, Ponikarovsky did not play Tuesday because of leg cramps and did not practice on Wednesday.
"We know we need to win some games, there's no question about that," Toronto coach Paul Maurice said.