The Atlanta Thrashers have been inconsistent on offense over the past week, alternating good and bad performances. They'd like the pattern to continue for one more game.
After being shut out, the Thrashers try to bounce back Tuesday night against a Toronto Maple Leafs team that has yielded the most goals in the NHL.
Atlanta (21-20-7) is in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, three points back of the New York Islanders for the eighth and final spot. Although they've played well at times, the Thrashers have been unable to find the consistency necessary to make a move in the standings.
Atlanta has split its last four games, amassing 11 goals in the victories but just one in the defeats.
The Thrashers beat Carolina 5-3 on Saturday, but were unable to carry over any momentum from that win, suffering a 1-0 loss to Florida on Monday.
Atlanta came on strong late against the Panthers, firing 14 shots in the final period after recording a total of 13 in the previous 40 minutes, but failed to find the back of the net.
"Good effort? Yeah, but without goals, you get no points," said Ilya Kovalchuk, who leads Atlanta with 21 goals and saw his three-game goal-scoring streak come to an end. "So what's the difference?"
The Thrashers would appear to have a good chance to rebound from their latest offensive dud.
The Maple Leafs (17-24-9) have yielded nine scores on the first two games of their season high-tying five-game trip to increase their league-worst goals allowed total to 173. They managed to beat Nashville 4-3 on Monday, but it wasn't pretty.
Toronto built a 3-0 lead nine minutes into the game, but allowed the Predators to score twice in the third period to tie it. Phil Kessel's goal with 5:48 left broke the tie, ended a personal eight-game goal-scoring drought and gave the Maple Leafs just their second victory in seven games.
"We really persevered," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "We hope we can turn this into something, but we have a tough week ahead with three more road games."
Ponikarovsky, who is second on the Leafs with 16 goals, scored twice in a 5-2 home win over the Thrashers on Dec. 7, the only previous meeting of the season between these teams. Toronto is 6-1-1 against Atlanta since Nov. 29, 2007.
Vesa Toskala has had plenty of success against the Thrashers, going 6-0-2 with a 2.09 goals-against average lifetime against them. He hasn't been playing well lately, though, as he's 2-5-0 with a 3.72 GAA and one shutout in his last seven starts overall.
Atlanta's Ondrej Pavelec will likely get the start in net against the Leafs after Johan Hedberg stopped 23 shots Monday, his first start since Jan. 9.
Pavelec is 2-0-1 with a 1.97 GAA in his last three starts, but struggled against Toronto in December, stopping just 17 of 22 shots and getting pulled after the second period.