Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Monday, December 20th
Maple Leafs3
Game 2: Friday, January 7th
Maple Leafs9Final
Game 3: Monday, February 7th
Maple Leafs5
Game 4: Sunday, February 27th
Maple Leafs2Final

Maple Leafs 9

(16-20-4, 36 pts)

Jets 3

(22-16-6, 50 pts)

7:30 PM ET, January 7, 2011

Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

1 2 3 T
TOR 2 6 19
WPG 1 0 23

M. Grabovski (Maple Leafs - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

T. Kaberle (Maple Leafs - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 4

N. Kulemin (Maple Leafs - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 2

Maple Leafs-Thrashers Preview


The Atlanta Thrashers slumped to end 2010. The new year has brought better results.

Playing their first game at Philips Arena in 2011, the Thrashers look to win three straight on Friday night when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are trying for three consecutive road victories for the first time in more than a year.

After capping off a 12-2-2 stretch with a 6-3 win at Toronto on Dec. 20, Atlanta (22-15-6) was outscored 22-11 while going 1-4-1 to end December. The Thrashers, though, are 8-2-2 at Philips Arena since Nov. 17 and return home following a 2-1-0 trip that ended with Wednesday's 3-2 victory over Florida.

Rich Peverley had a pair of goals, and Ondrej Pavelec made 15 of his 33 saves in the final 20 minutes.

"He had a great third period," coach Craig Ramsay said of Pavelec, who is 15-8-4 and among the NHL's best with a 2.14 goals-against average. "In the first period he was good and in the third period he was really good. They had a lot of point shots where he had to find it through a crowd. I thought he was really sharp."

Pavelec made 37 saves in last month's victory in Toronto and is 3-1-1 with a 3.21 GAA versus the Maple Leafs.

He is expected to be in net as the Thrashers go for their first three-game winning streak since a season-best six-game surge from Nov. 19-30.

Standing in the way is a Maple Leafs club coming off Thursday's 6-5 shootout victory over St. Louis.

Tyler Bozak's goal in the fourth round of the tiebreaker helped Toronto (15-20-4) escape with two points after it blew a three-goal third-period lead.

"I think it would have been a little bit quieter (on the flight to Atlanta) and not much going on (if we didn't win)," Bozak said.

Instead, the Maple Leafs will likely have plenty to say about the play of center Mikhail Grabovski as they begin a four-game trip. Grabovski scored in regulation on Thursday -- his 10th goal in 13 games -- and added a spectacular spin move and goal in the tiebreaker.

"Again, he's crazy," teammate Tim Brent said. "He's unbelievable. That'll be highlight of the night I'm sure and it should be. I've never seen it, he hasn't done it in practice and it takes a lot of guts to do that stuff. He's a pretty skilled guy."

Grabovski had a goal and an assist in last month's loss to Atlanta, and he netted the game-winner in the Maple Leafs' last visit to Philips Arena, a 2-1 overtime victory on March 25.

With his team seeking three straight road wins for the first time since a four-game stretch from Nov. 25-Dec. 3, 2009, Toronto coach Ron Wilson will likely have rookie James Reimer in net following another rough start from Jonas Gustavsson on Thursday.

Reimer made his NHL debut last month versus Atlanta, turning away all four shots he faced after Gustavsson was pulled after allowing five goals on 18 shots.

Thrashers defenseman Tobias Enstrom scored twice and had a career-high four points in that matchup, while former Maple Leaf Fredrik Modin also found the back of the net twice.

Atlanta leading scorer Dustin Byfuglien should be available after sitting out Thursday's practice with a lower-body injury.