Maple Leafs-Penguins Preview
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (21-8-8-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (9-22-5-3).
TIME: Monday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Points were coming so easily for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and suddenly
they're barely coming at all.
Toronto may be without Owen Nolan as it tries to end a four-game winless
streak in a matchup with the lowly Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Leafs earned a point in a franchise-record 16 straight games before
losing 3-1 to the New York Islanders on Dec. 27. That defeat triggered an 0-2-2
skid, and Toronto barely managed to get a point at home Saturday against
last-place Buffalo Sabres.
Matt Stajan scored the tying goal with 3:02 left in regulation as the Leafs
had to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the third period. Toronto outshot Buffalo
"We were the better team out there, but sometimes it doesn't work your way.
We're lucky we got a point," Stajan said.
Nolan left the game early in the first period with a left eye injury after
being high-sticked in the face by Buffalo's Jay McKee. Nolan, second on the
Leafs with 28 points, dropped to the ice and kicked his skates before being
taken to a hospital for further evaluation.
"Apparently, there was blunt trauma to the eye as well as to the cut,"
said Toronto coach Pat Quinn, who said Nolan was having flashes. "There's no
reason to believe that it is real bad, except that he's not seeing things well
right now. That indicates the eyeball was probably hit."
The absence of Nolan would leave a big hole in Quinn's offense, but Toronto
does have the benefit of facing a Pittsburgh team which has given up a
league-high 139 goals.
The Penguins had a season-high 41 shots Saturday, but lost 4-1 at home to
the New York Rangers.
"We're creating, but we need to create more," Pens coach Ed Olczyk said.
"The only way you do that is you got to go to the front of the net."
One of Saturday's lowlights was Eric Meloche failing to score on a penalty
shot as Pittsburgh fell to 1-6-1-1 in its last nine games.