Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs will host the Atlanta Thrashers at the Air Canada Center. Atlanta is hoping to catch the Boston Bruins for the 8th seed in the East and snag a post-season berth, while the Maple Leafs are looking to continue a playoff of their own – the quest to get out of the bottom five.
NOTE: Newly signed Brayden Irwin will not make his debut tonight. He will likely see action Thursday or Saturday.
"If we deserve to be there, we will be there," goalie Johan Hedberg told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It's going to be in our own hands."
The Leafs have sported a 7-2-1 record over their last ten games, and both teams are coming off a loss. The Leafs are just 3 points behind 3 seperate teams in the standings, and they hope to continue their strong performances to leap frog a few in the last 6 games of the season.
Toronto has won two of three meetings with the Thrashers this season, including their overtime win on March 25th in which Mikhail Grabovski tallied the overtime winner.
This is the start of a 4 game home-stand for the Leafs who will see action with Boston, Buffalo and Philadelphia over the next week. Jonas Gustavsson is expected to get the start.
From Maple Leafs.com: Gustavsson has recorded a win in seven consecutive starts from March 6 to 27. Over that span, he has stopped 183 of 197 shots, posting a 1.93 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. Gustavsson's current win streak marks the best span for a Maple Leafs rookie goaltender since Damian Rhodes won the first six games of his NHL career (March 1991 to Dec. 1993). The last Leafs goaltender to win seven straight starts was Ed Belfour (Nov. 22-Dec. 6, 2003). … Bergfors is fourth among all NHL rookies in scoring with 42 points (21 goals, 21 assists), and is tied for second in goals. He has scored 8-7-15 in 21 games with Atlanta since being acquired in a trade from New Jersey earlier this season.
Who’s Hot? Toronto:
Tomas Kaberle (D) 2 pts in last 2 GP
Dion Phaneuf (D) 4 pts in last 6 GP
Nikolai Kulemin (RW/LW) 3 pts in last 2 GP
Tyler Bozak (C) 11 pts in last 10 GP
Phil Kessel (RW) 11 pts in last 10 GP
Mikhail Grabovski (C) 3 pts in last 3 GP
John Mitchell (C/LW) 2 pts in last 2 GP
Rickard Wallin (C/LW) 2 pts in last 2 GP
Jonas Gustavsson (G) 4-0-0, 1.46, .948 in last 4 GPI
Who’s Hot? Atlanta:
Zach Bogosian (D) 2 pts in last 3 GP
Bryan Little (RW) 2 pts in last 2 GP
Niclas Bergfors (RW/LW) 2 pts in last 2 GP
Rich Peverley (C/RW) 4 pts in last 5 GP
Ondrej Pavelec (G) 1-0-1, 1.50, .960 in last 2 GPI
Johan Hedberg (G) 1-1-0, 1.51, .945 in last 2 GPI
Micheal A. Aldred