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Losing 2 games in a row and allowing a total of 10 goals in those losses, after winning 5 in a row and allowing just 6, the Leafs look to escape a 3-game losing streak and keep their playoff hopes alive when they face the New York Islanders tonight at the Air Canada Center. (7:30PM ET)
The team's latest game, a 6-5 Overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, featured a hattrick flipped by Rookie Jordan Staal, including the Game-Winning goal in the extra frame. With that, Staal becomes the youngest player in NHL history to record a hattrick.
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In more serious matters, the Leafs also had call-up Kris Newbury falling to injury during a fight with Robert Petrovicky, and being taken off the ice on a strecther. Newbury is now said to be okay, and is back practicing with the team in hopes of playing again soon.
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The rest of the game didn't fair much better for Toronto. Andrew Raycroft and the Leafs returned home to the Air Canada Center after a mostly successful 5 game roadtrip (collecting 8 of a possible 10 points), and like what has happened already so far into the season, the team looked much different from the more energetic one that plays on the road.
The Leafs fell down 3-0 early in the game, before scoring 4 straight goals, and then 1 more, continually being answered back by the Pens who tied the game 5-5 late in the 3rd, before the Newbury incident and Staal's winner in Overtime.
Bryan McCabe, Nik Antropov, Mats Sundin, Bates Battaglia, and Boyd Devereaux scored the goals for Toronto, who remain 2 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference (Carolina) with a 27-22-7 record after 56 games, giving them 61 points in total.
Leaf Goaltender Andrew Raycroft allowed 5 goals against on 28 shots, and now has a 25-17-5 record after 47 games, and a 2.94 Goals Against Average and .898 Save Percentage for the Leafs.
Leaf Captain Mats Sundin, who turns 36 years of age today, leads the team with 51 Points 49 Games (22G, 29A), including a point in all 7 games since the All-Star break in January (4G, 5A - 9 Points).
The Leafs are now 19 Points behind Buffalo for the Northeast Division lead.Mats Sundin said:"Physically and mentally I feel as strong as I ever have".
One point back of the Leafs in the Standings are the New York Islanders, who are currently sitting 10th in the East with a 26-22-8 record and having lost 3 of their last 4 games.
Jason Blake, named to the All-Star game that was played in January, has 27 goals and 48 Points to lead the Islanders. The Isles continue to struggle with consistency, much like the Maple Leafs have this season.
Rick DiPietro has seemingly been coming on as of late, now posting a 22-17-5 record in goal, along with a decent 2.67 Goals Against Average and .915 Save Percentage in 45 games for the the club.
With the Trade Deadline approaching in just over 2 weeks, rumours begin to swirl around the league, with no shortage of them coming from Toronto and New York.
This will be the 2nd meeting of the season between the 2 clubs.