NHL

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 - 8:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Maple Leafs-Predators Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Toronto Maple Leafs have hit a slump since their solid start, but Phil Kessel hasn't skipped a beat.

He'll look to stay hot and help Toronto to its fourth straight road victory Thursday night against the surging Nashville Predators.

Kessel scored his league-leading 13th goal but failed to convert in the shootout during a 3-2 loss to Phoenix on Tuesday. He scored with 15:19 left in regulation to rally the Leafs from a 2-0 deficit.

''We battled,'' said Kessel, who has three goals and an assist in his last four games and at least one point in 15 of Toronto's 18 games. ''We really tried to win this game and we battled back. Hopefully we can build on it.''

The defeat dropped Toronto (10-6-2) to 1-3-1 in its last five.

''We've got to bring that same resilience to start the game,'' said Mike Komisarek, whose goal preceded Kessel's to begin the comeback attempt. ''Not sort of feeling the other team out and seeing what kind of game it's going to be. We need to dictate the play and assert ourselves.''

The Leafs' win during their slide came in St. Louis on Nov. 10, giving them four wins in five games on the road. They'll look to continue that run in Nashville, where the task may be more difficult without second-line forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur.

Grabovski left Tuesday's game with an undisclosed injury following a collision at center ice, and MacArthur sat out the third period with a lower-body injury. The team announced Wednesday Grabovski will miss at least two weeks and MacArthur will not play in this game, but coach Ron Wilson said forward Tim Connolly likely will be in the lineup Thursday.

Nashville (9-5-3) is 3-0-1 in its last four games at home and 6-1-2 in its last nine overall after beating Washington 3-1 at home Tuesday. Martin Erat and Shea Weber each had a goal and an assist, and Colin Wilson scored for the second time in three games after going his previous 10 without a goal.

Pekka Rinne, who signed a seven-year, $49 million extension Nov. 3, made 39 saves and improved to 6-0-2 with a 1.97 goals-against average over his last eight starts.

"Unbelievable. There's a reason he got signed up for seven more years," Wilson told the team's official website. "You see how valuable he is. I don't know how you can play any better than that."

Since a 17-save shutout of Toronto on Jan. 13, 2009, however, Rinne has struggled against the Leafs. He allowed three goals on eight shots in the first nine minutes before Kessel scored the game-winning goal in a 4-3 loss Jan. 18, 2010. Rinne then lost 5-4 in the most recent meeting between the teams Nov. 16, 2010.

The Predators are 1-0-1 on their current five-game homestand, which Rinne said has helped them realize how good of a team the Predators can be.

"This homestand is important for us," Rinne said. "It showed that resiliency that we've been known to have, going back to last year. We never seem to panic anymore. That's a good sign. We just keep going at it."

Toronto's goaltending has been suspect since James Reimer suffered what is believed to be a concussion Oct. 22, though the Leafs have kept his status quiet. Rookie Ben Scrivens, who has started the last three games, has gone 2-2-1 with a 2.92 GAA, and Jonas Gustavsson is 3-3-0 with a 3.34 GAA.

The Predators have won two of three all-time meetings at home against the Leafs.

Tagged: Sabres, Maple Leafs, Predators, Tim Connolly, Clarke MacArthur, Pekka Rinne, Mikhail Grabovski, Phil Kessel, Colin Wilson

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt