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Maple Leafs-Wild Preview @NHLdotcom
Maple Leafs-Wild Preview

GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (24-17-3) at Minnesota Wild (20-21-4).

TIME: Wednesday, 8 p.m. EST.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to avoid a season-high four-game losing streak and may be facing the right opponent to do it.

The Maple Leafs play the Minnesota Wild hoping to win for a fifth time in as many games against them.

Toronto lost its third straight game, 5-3, against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

"Too many penalties and when we went into the penalty box, they put it into the net," said Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn, whose team allowed three power-play goals and were penalized for too many men on the ice twice against Colorado.

They were weak penalties. And mistakes where we made a mistake with the puck and either hooked somebody or got a stick up on someone. They are our mistakes and double mistakes. Give the puck away and hook somebody to cover up your mistake and we paid for it."

The Leafs have yielded six power-play goals in 22 penalty kills during their three-game skid.

The loss kept Toronto tied for sixth place in the Eastern Conference, and one point ahead of the Atlanta Thrashers for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Mats Sundin stopped a five-game goal drought with a goal and an assist against the Avalanche. The Toronto captain has two goals and four points in four career games against the Wild.

Toronto goaltender Ed Belfour has posted a 4-1-1 career record with one shutout against Minnesota. His lone loss came in a 6-0 defeat Dec. 17, 2000, when he played for the Dallas Stars.

The Leafs outscored the Wild 12-3 in their previous four victories.

Minnesota lost 6-1 Monday to the Ottawa Senators, its third straight loss. The Wild are just 1-4 on their season-high seven-game homestand.

"We've just got to believe in ourselves, and right now I don't think we are," said Wild goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who has lost 10 of his last 12 starts and is 5-14-1 on the season.

The Wild are in last place in the Northwest Division and 12th overall in the West. They are nine points behind the Edmonton Oilers for the last playoff spot and have been outscored 12-3 during their losing streak.

Wild leading scorer Brian Rolston is trying to avoid tying a season-high six-game goal drought. Rolston, a member of the U.S. Olympic team, has scored six goals and 15 points in 30 career games against the Leafs, but has no goals against Toronto in his last seven games.

STANDINGS: Maple Leafs - 51 points, 3rd place, 14 PB, Northeast Division. Wild - 44 points, 5th place, 13 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Darcy Tucker, 18 goals; Bryan McCabe, 34 assists and 49 points; Jason Allison, 57 PIM. Wild - Rolston, 18 goals, 26 assists and 44 points; Derek Boogaard, 82 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.4 percent (59 for 289), 6th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.8 percent (232 for 287), 20th. Wild - Power play: 17.6 percent (44 for 250), 14th. Penalty killing: 88.7 percent (220 for 248), 1st.

GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Belfour (18-14-2, 0 SO, 3.20 GAA); Mikael Tellqvist (6-3-1, 1, 2.43). Wild - Manny Fernandez (15-7-3, 1, 2.02); Roloson (5-14-1, 1, 2.99).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 11, 2003; Maple Leafs, 1-0. At St. Paul, Minn., Belfour made 28 saves for his third shutout of the season, and Tom Fitzgerald beat Roloson for the game's lone goal.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 9-9-2 on the road; Wild - 12-10-1 at home.

Associated Press

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