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Toronto
Maple Leafs
36-35-11
Florida
Panthers
38-35-9

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Maple Leafs-Panthers Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Associated Press

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Maple Leafs-Panthers Preview
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Florida Panthers

Though they're tied in the standings, the Toronto Maple Leafs were the sellers and the Florida Panthers were the buyers when the teams completed two deals before the trade deadline.

Perhaps the reason was the result the last time these two teams faced off.

The Leafs will look to avenge their worst loss of the season on Wednesday when they visit the struggling Panthers, who are coming off their own worst defeat of 2007-08.

The teams face off one day after completing a pair of trades. Toronto sent left wing Chad Kilger to Florida for a third-round draft pick and right wing Wade Belak to the Panthers for a fifth-round selection.

Kilger will fill the void created with the injury to Richard Zednik, whose carotid artery was sliced at Buffalo on Feb. 10. Kilger had 10 goals and seven assists in 53 games with the Leafs this season.

"With the Richard Zednik injury we needed a big, fast and skilled winger to be able to play on one of our top lines," coach and general manager Jacques Martin said. "Chad can play that role for us. He is a gritty, character veteran that will bring experience and a positive attitude to our locker room."

Later in the day the Panthers (28-30-7) traded Ruslan Salei - their second-highest scoring defenseman - to Colorado for Karlis Skrastins and a third-round pick.

The Panthers were recently in contention in the crowded Southeast Division, but they've lost four of their last five to fall into a tie with Toronto (27-28-9) near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

They were hardly equals on Feb. 5, when Florida earned an 8-0 win at Toronto, chasing goalie Vesa Toskala after just 28 minutes. Zednik had a hat trick in that game.

"We can't roll over like that in any game," Toronto's Matt Stajan said that night. "It's embarrassing to lose like that on home ice."

Toronto hasn't embarrassed itself much in the last five games, winning four times. The Leafs are coming off a 5-0 win at rival Ottawa on Monday, when Darcy Tucker had two goals and an assist and Mats Sundin scored in his first game since refusing to waive his no-trade clause.

Sundin had been widely rumored to be on the trading block, but he chose to stay in Toronto, where he has spent the last 13 seasons. Instead, Toronto only dealt Kilger and Belak to the Panthers and veteran defenseman Hal Gill to Pittsburgh for draft picks.

"I think everybody's kind of happy," Toskala said of the Sundin situation. "We know what's going to happen now. We don't have to guess anymore and I think that relaxed the room a little bit more."

Toskala had 31 saves against the Senators for his third shutout of the season, and he's stopped 55 of 56 shots in the last two games, both Toronto wins. He has started 15 straight for the Leafs, going 8-6-1 with a 2.35 goals-against average over that span.

"We've played pretty well since we've had a fuller, healthier lineup, especially with our defense," Tucker said. "Vesa's played great for us in net and our defense has played well and given us an opportunity to win every night. That's obviously the team that everyone expected us to be."

The Panthers have been worse than they hoped in recent games, including a 5-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday. Goalie Tomas Vokoun is on a personal four-game losing streak with a 4.19 GAA over that stretch.

"We don't play well, that's why we're losing," Vokoun said. "It's not by accident or about bad luck."

Vokoun has a 3-1-1 record and a 1.60 GAA in five career appearances against the Maple Leafs, while Toskala had been 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA against Florida before the blowout loss earlier this month.

2007-2008 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 27 '08 TOR 4 at FLA 3 - SO T. Kaberle
Feb 05 '08 FLA 8 at TOR 0 R. Zednik
Dec 22 '07 TOR 2 at FLA 1 - OT P. Kubina
Oct 18 '07 FLA 2 at TOR 3 N. Antropov