Maple Leafs-Rangers Preview
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (20-6-6-3) at New York Rangers (13-13-5-2).
TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are playing like the best team in hockey. The New
York Rangers know it all too well.
The red-hot Maple Leafs try to beat the Rangers for the fourth time in as
many weeks as the teams face off at Madison Square Garden.
Toronto is 13-0-1-1 over its last 15 games to take over the NHL lead with 49
points. This is the deepest into a season the Leafs have owned the league's
best record since 1962-63.
"To be one of the top teams in the league, you need to have four lines
playing well and right now we have that going for us," Toronto captain Mats
Just over a month ago, the Maple Leafs were only one game over .500 and tied
with Buffalo for 11th in the NHL.
New York has gotten a firsthand look at how well Toronto is playing. The
Rangers were swept by the Leafs in a home-and-home series from Nov. 30-Dec. 2,
then lost 3-1 at Toronto on Dec. 13.
The Rangers now just hope to avoid getting swept in the season series with
Toronto, which is 5-0-1 since losing 3-2 in overtime to St. Louis on Dec. 9.
Gary Roberts scored twice as the Leafs extended their franchise-record
points streak to 15 games with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on
Nik Antropov added a goal and an assist for the Leafs, who haven't lost in
regulation since Nov. 20 at Edmonton.
New York has alternated wins and losses in its last six games.
Bobby Holik and Petr Nedved each scored twice Monday night to lead the
Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.
The Rangers improved to 8-5-2-2 at home, including two straight wins.
Following this game, New York goes to Phoenix to begin a four-game road trip.