Leafs hope to end skid against Panthers
PANTHERS (3-3-0) at MAPLE LEAFS (4-2-1)
-- SNET-O (HD)
-- This is the first of four meetings between the teams this season. They split four meetings last season, with each team winning once at home and on the road. The Panthers won the final two games, including a 4-1 win at Air Canada Centre on March 23, powered by a pair of David Booth
-- After starting the season with four straight wins, the Leafs have gone 0-2-1 in their last three. The Panthers hope they can pack some of the good feelings from Saturday's win against the Islanders with them as they start a three-game Canadian road trip in Toronto.
-- Tuesday's game will be a milestone for Panthers forward Radek Dvorak
. The only member of the Florida team that went to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final still with the team, the game against the Leafs will be Dvorak's 567th game as a Panther, tying him with Olli Jokinen for second on the franchise's all-time list, and moving him within seven games of Robert Svehla's all-time mark.
The 10th pick of the 1995 Entry Draft by the Panthers, he's also played with the Rangers, Oilers and Blues, but jumped at the chance to return to Florida in the summer of 2007.
"There have been some ups and downs, but this year has been good so far," Dvorak told the Miami Herald. "When I was traded for the first time, I hoped right then I could come back. The first few months after I left, I really wanted to come back."
-- Despite hitting a rough patch after their fast start, Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf said there's no panic going on in the locker room.
"The room is still fine," Phaneuf told the Toronto Star after Saturday's 5-2 loss in Philadelphia.
There are issues -- Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski, their top two centers, have yet to score a goal; the team has scored four goals in its last three games; they had more shots blocked (18) against the Flyers than went on net (14) -- but no one is getting overly concerned.
"The biggest thing as a group is we have to be better," said Phaneuf. "Within the group, individuals have to be better. That's what makes our team good. When we play together we play hard, and we haven't done that. We have to get back to that."
-- After a pair of concussions ruined last season for him, Panthers forward David Booth
seems to have regained his scoring touch, with 3 goals in his first six games. … Most fans would have expected to see Phil Kessel score 6 goals in his first seven games, but surprising Clarke MacArthur has matched him goal for goal. MacArthur had 16 goals last season and never has scored more than 17 in the NHL.
-- Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison
is questionable with a groin injury. The Leafs are fully healthy.
-- Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn has seen his ice time rise from 16:52 per game last season to 22:39 this season. He played a team-high 24:49 Saturday against the Flyers.
-- Prior to Saturday's game against the Islanders, the Panthers unveiled a banner commemorating franchise architect Bill Torrey.
Torrey also was the general manager of the Islanders four-time Cup championship dynasty.
The team gave Torrey a vacation at a golf resort in Oregon, a three-year lease on a Lexus and will place a bronze plaque in their Den of Honor.
"My family has been my blessing," said Torrey. "They've supported me and gave me the inspiration to try and succeed in every endeavor. I bow my head to them."