Maple Leafs-Panthers Preview

The Toronto Maple Leafs are on the verge of matching their best

road start in more than seven decades.

If they’re going to accomplish that feat on Monday night,

they’ll have to win for the first time in six games against the

Florida Panthers.

Despite losing 3-1 to Carolina on Thursday in their last game in

an opponent’s arena, the Maple Leafs (9-6-0) have a 6-2-0 record

outside Toronto. The last time they opened 7-2-0 on the road was

1940-41.

The Maple Leafs have been outscored 20-6 while losing each of

their last five games in Sunrise, including two in 2011-12 when

Florida swept the four-game season series.

Toronto, though, has some momentum on its side after Saturday’s

3-0 victory over Ottawa gave the club its fifth win in six games.

Starting a second consecutive contest for injured starter James

Reimer (knee), Ben Scrivens made 34 saves for his first career

shutout.

“Any goalie will tell you a shutout is a team stat and the guys

definitely helped me out big-time tonight,” said Scrivens, who will

likely make his first career start versus Florida. “They let me see

the puck, they cleared away second chances, so much of the credit

goes to them.”

The Maple Leafs’ penalty kill has been outstanding, failing just

once in 18 chances over the last five games.

That doesn’t bode well for a Florida club that’s 0 for 12 on the

power play during its 0-1-3 skid.

The Panthers (4-6-4) will try to salvage the finale of their

four-game homestand after losing in overtime in each of the last

three.

“We’re not finishing,” coach Kevin Dineen said after his team

yielded the game-tying goal with 11 seconds left in regulation in

Saturday’s 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay. “You’re not going to get in the

playoffs with 48 points. You can’t try to get a point a game – it’s

just not going to work. We’ve got to find a way a more complete

effort and end up with two points.”

Florida, loser of five of its last six at home, has points in

seven of eight contests since a season-worst five-game skid from

Jan. 21-29.

Jose Theodore was shaky on Saturday with a season-high six goals

allowed, but he might be able to help the Panthers get back into

the win column. The veteran netminder has won his last five starts

versus Toronto, including all four last season.

Phil Kessel, the Maple Leafs’ leader with five points in those

contests, has both of his goals and nine of his 11 points on the

road this season. Kessel had two goals and five assists in a

four-game road point streak before being held off the scoresheet on

Thursday.

Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk has six of his team-best eight

goals away from home. He had one goal and two assists in five games

at Florida while with Philadelphia.

Panthers leading scorer Tomas Fleischmann is one goal shy of

100.

Toronto’s last victory over Florida was 4-3 in a shootout at

home on Feb. 1, 2011.