After consecutive losing campaigns, the Atlanta Thrashers are off to a promising start this season thanks in large part to their success away from home.
The Thrashers will try to add to that in a big way with a franchise-record fifth straight road win Monday night against the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs.
Atlanta (15-8-3) has posted a pedestrian 6-6-2 mark on its home ice, but is among the league's best teams with a 9-2-1 road record.
In Saturday night's opener of a four-game trip, the Thrashers drew on that success to rebound from the end of a four-game win streak.
In a 2-1 shootout win at Florida, Ilya Kovalchuk notched the tying goal with 1:04 remaining, and Rich Peverley added the winning shot in the tiebreaker. Johan Hedberg stopped 30 shots in his third straight victory.
"To get that final goal in the last minute was huge," Peverley said. "Coming out of here with two points is really big."
With three goals and two assists during the team's 5-1-0 run, Kovalchuk is once again heating up. The left winger, who scored 13 times in the season's first 12 games, had two goals and an assist in the teams' previous meeting, a 4-3 overtime victory in Atlanta on Jan. 16.
Peverley also had the winning goal and two assists in that victory, but Kovalchuk has more sustained success against the Maple Leafs (8-13-7) with 12 goals and 13 assists in 27 all-time matchups.
In the first of four meetings this season, he and his teammates will try to take advantage again of one of the league's worst defenses. Toronto gave up a league-worst 3.49 goals per game last season and is near the bottom again, allowing 3.57 per contest.
The Maple Leafs also come off one of their worst performances of the season, Saturday night's 7-2 defeat in Boston.
After winning four of five, Toronto allowed the Bruins to score twice in the first 6:01, hold a 4-0 lead after the second period and tally their final goal with 7:15 remaining.